As Odisha grapples with the decade’s worst flood in Mahanadi river system, opposition BJP Wednesday came down heavily on the ruling BJD accusing it of failing to implement proper water management in Hirakud reservoir - the lone facility that controls floods in the biggest river in the coastal state.
BJP state unit president Samir Mohanty came down heavily on the Naveen Patnaik government and said the present situation in the Mahanadi river system has arisen because of the utter negligence by the administration.
"The state government has miserably failed in flood management that has affected thousands of people in 10 districts this time,” he said at a press conference here. The opposition party alleged that the state government never bothered to work out a proper mechanism for water management in the Hirakud reservoir during the 22 years of BJD’s regime in Odisha.
“There is a Rule Curve for proper flood control and water management in Hirakud dam. The state government, however, never thought of bringing amendments in the rules during the last 24 years since BJD came to power despite climate change and global warming,” Mohanty said.
The Rule Curve is a guideline for flood control during monsoons and maintenance of reservoir functions like irrigation and power production post the season. The flood in Mahandi river is managed as per its provisions which suggest how much water should be stored in the reservoir and when to discharge the excess water. It was adopted in 1962 and was last amended in 1988.
Mohanty claimed that the BJD government did not amend the rule though there was need to do so and instead used the Mahanadi water issue for political purposes to mislead the people.
The government completely ignored factors like climate change, global warming, unseasonal rainfall and deposits of huge quantities of silt in Hirakud reservoir which affected its storage capacity over the years. Instead of focusing on proper water management in the Mahanadi river system, the government kept itself busy in organising agitations over the river water issue at different times since 2017, he alleged.
Though river embankments have become weak and prone to breaches in different places, the state government did not respond to the situation and has thereby pushed the lives of people into danger, he claimed.
Keeping up with his criticism, Mohanty alleged that the government’s preparedness to deal with the current flood remained confined to announcements while local people are seen in many places repairing breaches on embankments on their own.
“Instead of resorting to propaganda and publicity the government should ensure that the required assistance reaches the affected people and mitigates their plight,” Mohanty said and called upon BJP activists across the state to come to the aid of the people during the crisis without waiting for the it to respond.
Neither BJD nor the state government have reacted to BJP's allegations yet. Meanwhile, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committe on Wednesday constituted a state level flood relief committte to coordinate with its district organisations for relief and rehabilitation of the flood affected people in 10 districts.
(With PTI inputs)