Mega Drinking Water Project Site In Odisha’s Kendrapada Turns Into Battlefield

Kendrapada: The simmering discontent among people over the proposed mega drinking water project in Odisha’s Kendrapada district took a violent turn as an irate mob went berserk at the project site on Thursday.

People of three panchayats of Rajkanika block in Kendrapada district have been protesting against the project over the Kharasrota river.

According to sources, police detained KBSS convener of Kharasrota Banchao Sangram Samiti (KBSS) and former Congress MLA of Aul Debendra Sharma while they were on their way to the project site at Bharigada this morning.

As soon as the news spread in the area, people of Balakati, Bharigada and Barunadiha panchayats rushed to the project site. Although the district administration had barricaded the area and clamped prohibitory orders with the deployment of 16 platoons of police, the irate mob went on the rampage, damaging vehicles used for the construction work and draining out the fuel from the tanks. Later, they ransacked the temporary office of the construction company.

The irate locals also chased and attacked the police when they tried to restrain them.

On being informed, the district administration rushed additional force to the site to bring the situation under control.

The KBSS, which is spearheading the agitation, had earlier opposed the decision of the state government to construct the project over Kharasrota for supplying drinking water to 91 panchayats of Bhadrak district under Buxi Jagabandhu Assured Water Supply to Habitations (BASUDHA) scheme.

Maintaining that the supply of water will dry up the river bed, KBSS had proposed an in-stream barrage over Kharasrota and supply the water from the barrage to Bhadrak district. The government, however, turned a deaf ear to its proposal and decided to go ahead with the project at Bharigada.

To expedite the construction work of the project, the district administration had clamped the prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC in Balakati, Bharigada and Barunadiha panchayats for two months till October 8 to stop the entry of the people to the project site.

Protesting against the repressive measures of the administration, thousands of people violating the prohibitory order had staged a demonstration at the project site. Police later arrested 35 agitators.

Also Read: Protest Against Drinking Water Project: 2-Month Prohibitory Order Clamped In 3 Panchayats Of Odisha’s Kendrapada

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