Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Mahendratanaya next bone of contention
BHUBANESWAR: At a time when Andhra Pradesh and Orissa governments are involved in a legal fight in the Supreme Court over the Polavaram project, another dam project on the river Mahendratanaya by AP is turning contentious because of increasing local opposition.The 'Save Mahendratanaya' movement (Mahendratanaya Banchao Andolan) wanted the State Government to move the Supreme Court over the issue as the AP Government had allegedly violated the 1962 agreement between the two states regarding the project.Criticising the inaction of the State Government, convenor of the movement Srikant Padhi alleged that no action has been taken on the issue though Andhra government is proceeding with the project without any concern for the local people on this side of the border.The State Government had planned to construct two anicuts on the river Bansadhara Bansadhara integrated project to thwart the designs of the Andhra government. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation of the two anicuts at Dambapur village on the Mahendratanaya and at Champapur village on the river Jalanga, a tributary of Mahendratanaya on April 30, 2008.Padhi alleged that though both the projects had received administrative approval, work has not progressed during the last two years. These projects will provide irrigation facilities to thousands of tribals in Gajapati and Rayagada districts and drinking water to Parlakhemundi town, he said.The seven demands raised by the movement include finalising the tender process of the two projects and immediate start of work. He said construction work should be handed over to the military engineering service if contractors refuse to take up the project because of fear from the Naxals.A division of the military engineering service should be set up at Parlakhemundi, he said and added that the vacant posts of assistant engineer at Parlakhemundi and junior engineer of the integrated Bansadhara project should be filled up.After flowing 56 km in Orissa, Mahendratanaya merges in Bansadhara in Andhra Pradesh. The Andhra Pradesh government has started Mahendratanaya project at Meliaput.