People protest Odisha government’s decision to allocate water from the Mahanadi and Hansua rivers, saying it will turn large tracts of farms barren in Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack districts

The controversial POSCO steel plant project in Odisha has been allocated water from the Mahanadi and Hansua rivers. The South Korean steel company proposes to construct the steel plant in the seaside gram panchayats of Dhinkia, Nuagaon and Gadakujang in Jagatsinghpur district, and the move to allocate water for the project has spurred protests among farmers and people campaigning against the project from the outset.

“The water resources department has informed POSCO that it can draw 138,000 cumecs (cubic metre per second) of water from the Mahanadi river at Jobra barrage for the project work,” informed S K Mallick, district collector of Jagatsinghpur, on Wednesday. During the first phase, POSCO will get 69,000 cumecs water from December 2018. From 2021, during the second phase, POSCO will get another 69,000 cumecs. POSCO will also receive 3,400 cumecs water from the river Hansua from June 16, 2016 till December 2018 for the construction work, said Mallick.

The company will build anicuts, check-dams, barrages, drainages, storage system and sluice gates to take water from both rivers as per the 35 conditions imposed by the state government, he added.

The proposed steel plant project, which made no headway for many years because of public protests, got a boost in June last year when the district administration completed the land acquisition work. The Union government has already revalidated environment clearance to POSCOto build a steel plant. The district administration will soon organise Rehabilitation Periphery Development Advisory Committee ( RPDC) meeting in Jagatsinghpur to sort out land acquisition, compensation, rehabilitation and other issues to pave the way for the project. Read more

Courtesy: Down to Earth