Battling stiff protests from farmers and different organizations, Posco India has finally obtained the nod of the Odisha government to draw water from Mahanadi and Hansua rivers for its mega steel project near Paradip.
While Posco will draw water from Mahanadi to cater to the drinking water needs of its township, water from Hansua river will be used to take up construction work on its steel project.
“The water resources department has already given permission to Posco to draw water from Mahanadi in two phases. The water from Mahanadi will be used for drinking purposes. Similarly, permission has already been given to Posco to draw water from Hansua river so that this water can be used for construction of the steel plant. The district administration has received the permission letter from the water resources department on last Saturday”, said Jagatsinghpur collector Satya Kumar Mallick.
Mallick said, work on the construction of steel project's boundary wall and periphery development is likely to take off after lifting of the Model Code of Conduct imposed for elections.
Posco India has secured allocation of 125 cusecs of water from Mahanadi and Hansua rivers.
Permission to Posco India to draw water from Mahanadi and Hansua rivers has evoked mixed reactions. While Posco supporters have welcomed the decision saying it would enable proper use of surplus water from Hansua, farmers' bodies have threatened to step up stir, citing the move will affect agricultural activities.
Earlier, Posco had sought 125 cusec water from Mahanadi river for construction purposes.
Though water resources department in 2006 had accorded permission to draw water from Mahanadi at Jobra barrage near Cuttack, it had later asked the steel company to look for an alternative water source amid widespread protests from organizations like Mahanadi Bachao Samiti, Nab Nirman Krushak Sangthan, NGOs (non-government organizations) and local farmers.
Accordingly, Posco India had engaged a consultancy firm to work out alternative water sources. Later, the company requested the water resources department to allocate water from Mahanadi for drinking purposes and from Hansua river for construction work.