Thursday, August 2, 2007

Indravati project's side-effects hit KBK people

The Pionner, Aug 2, 2007

Pioneer News Service | Bhawanipatna
Even as the major hydro-irrigation project of Upper Indravati has brought cheers to the farmers of the KBK region, its side effects are harming them more than their benefits. A leading non-resident Oriya (NRO) Digamabar Patra, who belongs to this backward region, has analysed in great details the effects of the project.

The State Government is richer by hundreds of crores rupees annually by selling power to the neighbouring State. However, the negative side effects from this project from infrastructure and health counts are creating an appalling situation for the common men. Opening of various channels to irrigate agricultural farmland has brought various deadly waterborne diseases in the form of tuberculosis, malaria, brain fever to the region directly affecting the local mass.

However, whatever health facilities are available in the region are in a state of despair. Serious staff shortage in the Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs), coupled with shortage of technical expertise as well as proper medical diagnostic instruments, has further worsened the situation.

Take the case of Dharamgarh: The total number of sanctioned doctors' posts in the Dharamgarh sub-divisional hospital is 18, but at present there are only six doctors in position. In the monsoon season, when the hospital records a higher number of patients, it finds it very difficult to cope with the situation. The Government has sanctioned an ENT specialist post in the hospital but has later coolly forgotten to post one.

Similarly, there are a half-constructed concrete buildings and a signboard of Sardar Raja Medical College at Jaring, but this private medical college is yet to be operational. Four years after its foundation stone was laid, the medical college has not yet obtained the approval of the Medical Council of India (MCI). In the absence of proper healthcare, ailing women, children, old and infirm people are suffering a lot.

The poor infrastructure brings owes to the entire rural folk. The Hati river used to be a dry one in summer before the irrigation project came into operation. So, the requirement of a permanent bridge over the river was not felt. However, after the project came into operation, now even in dry summer season the normal level of water in the river is four to six feet high as the water is diverted to the river through the Indravati dam. The people living in this part of the KBK region are, therefore, finding it difficult to cross the river.

Submergence of NH-201, one of the major routes in the region, by the overflowing Hati river water near Junagarh in rainy days has been a routine and serious concern since past decade affecting lakhs of commuters. It is also affecting road movement from Rourkela, Sambalpur, Balangir, Angul and Bhawanipatna to Jeypore, Sunabeda, Damanjodi, Nabarangpur and Koraput and vice versa.

At present, the river needs at least five more new bridges at various points. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone in 2003 for a new bridge over the river at Kalampur, but construction work is yet to start. A high-level new bridge is also required over the river near Junagarh on NH 201 over the present low-lying bridge. Despite public demand since last one decade for a new bridge over NH 201 near Junagarh, the Government has remained callous.

No comments: