Kendrapara: A sharp drop in water level of Luna river has sparked fear of disruption in drinking water supply to Kendrapara town as well as water supply to the farmlands on the river basin, a report said.
Reports said, the river flowing through Kendrapara district has been witnessing continuous decline in water level since December 2021.
Environmentalists and residents attributed the dip in water level to illegal lifting of sand from the riverbed. They fear that illegal sand mining might force the river to change its course which will spell disaster for the residents in future.
Local intellectuals batted for interlinking of rivers in the district as a lasting solution to the problem.
Highlighting the plight, Khitish Kumar Singh of Khadianga in the town said the public health engineering organisation (PHEO) and Water Resources department have jointly established a pump house at Kalapada to lift water from the river and supply it to the households in the town.
However, the riverbed near the pump house went dry in January itself. Later, the two departments constructed a channel on the opposite side to draw the river water to the pump house.
But, the channel too did not last long and has started drying up. Santosh Kumar Panda, a local, said, “Check dams have been constructed on the river at Padagayaspur, Gayaspur, Thauri, Chadheiguan, Rajgad and Angulai to store the river water for agriculture and drinking water purposes.”
He feared that a drop in water level might leave 10,000 hectare farmland uncultivated. Former ZP member Ganesh Chandra Samal said Luna river flowing through the district is 73-km long and was used for maritime trade during British rule.
However, the river is now facing the threat of extinction due to illegal sand and soil mining and rampant encroachment. He said the district lacks proper irrigation facilities.
“Over 15, 850 hectare farmlands lack facility to drain out excess water. Similarly, 32,350 hectare farmlands are saline while 34,952 hectare gets submerged during floods,” he added.
Moreover, 84,910 hectare farmlands are drought prone due to lack of water supply.
When contacted, executive engineer of irrigation department Prabodh Kumar Rout said that efforts are on and funds have been sanctioned for renovation of Luna river and very soon the residents will reap the benefits.