The Odisha government has planned to construct at least 1,000 bridge-cum-weirs (low dams) to function as sources of irrigation and drinking water across the state in three years, according to senior officials. Several bridge-cum-weir structures have earlier been built in the state and, as their impact was found positive, the administration has decided to scale up replication of this model.
The government has often been criticised for allegedly not creating more facilities for water storage in the state. “It is the most cost-effective technology with multiple utilities like groundwater recharge, raising the water level in river beds, irrigating the fertile land on both sides of the river,” Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra said.
In some places, riverfront parks can also be developed as a public utility, he said at a meeting on Sunday while reviewing the water holding capacity of the bridge-cum-weir structures piloted in some districts.Development Commissioner PK Jena said that the structures had no adverse effect on the usual flow of water in the river concerned.
The chief secretary directed the works department to identify the high-level bridges on all roads under the departments of rural development and works where such structures would be feasible. A target was set to construct 1000 such bridge-cum-water wire structures in three years, Mohapatra said. Works Secretary VV Yadav said that around 49 bridges had been taken up for such structures on a pilot basis. Out of this, the structures under 12 bridges were completed in districts such as Dhenkanal, Kalahandi, Matyubhanj and Bhadrakh.
The remaining 37 structures would come up in the districts of Angul, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Kalahandi, Bolangir and Sundargarh. The horticulture department was asked to motivate the farmers to cultivate vegetables and cash crops. The water could also be used for drinking water projects wherever necessary, the chief secretary said.
(With PTI inputs)