Irrigation Tanks Made By Gajapati’s Royal Family Fail To Withstand Test Of Time
Berhampur: Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati of Paralakhemundi, regarded as the architect of the independent state of Orissa and also its first Prime Minister had carried out a slew of welfare measures in his lifetime. Among them was the construction of as many as 1281 large and small irrigation tanks in Paralakhemundi taluk in Gajapati district.
Sadly, most of these water bodies have been neglected over the years.
Among the larger ones are Rama Sagar and Sita Sagar near Paralakhemundi; Brundaban Sagar near Upalada; Krushna Sagar near Gopili and Chaitanya Sagar to the north-west of Paralakhemundi. Other notable tanks of the region are Radha Sagar and Gajapati Sagar. Nalinee Krushna Sagar is another tank constructed by Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati.
These ‘sagars’ not only catered to the basic agricultural needs during the hot summer months but were also the main drinking water source for the residents of Paralakhemundi town and the neighbouring regions. These irrigation tanks were built in a manner that they had perennial feeder sources from hills streams, which never dried up even during the summer months. As a result, the tanks supplied water throughout the year not only to the farmers but the local residents too.
However, years of neglect have resulted in the weakening of the banks. The tanks have developed breaches. When they become silted up and their depth is proportionately reduced, farmers from the nearby areas encroach and convert them into paddy fields, defeating the very purpose of their existence.