The River Policy will ensure river basin management for protection of the rights of river says Odisha Water Resources Secretary

Bhubaneswar: ActionAid with the support of the likeminded organizations like Sneha Abhiyan-Jagatsinghpur, Seheda-Jharsuguda, Patang-Sambalpur, Focus Odisha Foundation-Khurda, Abhiyan-Boudh , Sanchar-Nayagarh, Mukti-Cuttack, Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan-Cuttack, Utkal Gandhi Smarak-Cuttack ,Kalpataru-Angul organized a state level sharing programme at Mahabodhi Society, Bhubaneswar and shared the findings of the study on Mahanadi that was undertaken in 36 villages of Odisha & Chhatisgarh including 32 villages in 8 districts (Nayagarh, Boudh, Angul, Cuttack, Subarnapur, Sambalpur, and Jagatsinghpur) of Odisha and 4 villages in 2 districts (Raygad & Jahangir Champa) of Chhatisgarh were covered under this study. The data collection was done through using a structured schedule and having focused group discussion with different categories of population in the villages along the river basins of Mahanadi. Beside, the study has made an attempt to collect evidences in terms of collecting case studies from the field that reflect the vulnerabilities of the community pertaining to Mahanadi.

About 60 community representatives from 12 districts (Nayagarh, Boudh, Angul, Cuttack, Subarnapur, Sambalpur, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Puri, Khurda & Ganjam) of Odisha & Jahangir Champa of Chhatisgarh joined this meeting and shared their views, issues and concerns. Also, people from CSO, leaders of people’s organization, lawyers and environmentalists have been invited to share their views.

We have to go beyond the state boundary and consider the people’s perspectives while bring solution to Mahanadi issue. Said Debabrat Patra, Regional Manager, ActionAid while sharing the objective of the programme.

There should efforts for protection of the natural flow the river, the rights of river as well as the rights to river of the people of the state. Said Dr Bratindi Jena, Team Leader, ActionAid while setting the context.

The current Mahanadi problem is largely caused by anthropogenic intervention and also has some natural reason. There are much potential to overcome the challenges, biggest potential is to save the rain water where it falls. River flow is symptom. ; Said Bimal Pandia, Columnist and Researcher said while sharing the findings of the analysis of the secondary sources of data related to Mahanadi.

The traditional use of river water has been changed due to less water flow in the river and the livelihoods of the river dependent communities have been affected. Therefore they have been shifted from the primary livelihoods options and become migrants. The participation of the communities in the water governance process has been ignored which one of the major issue of concern the study has highlighted. Said Priyabrata Satapathy, Programme Coordinator, ActionAid while sharing the findings of the study conducted by ActionAid.

We are also concerned about the rights over rivers but is also constraint as it has to provided water for various demands including urban demand as well as industrial demands. Odisha is looming towards basin approach and bringing a river policy for protection of the rights of river. Said Prdeeep Jena, Principal Secretary, Water Resource Department, Government of Odisha.

The civilization has grown on the river basin and it should be protected and managed well for the sustenance of the river, Said Dr Arabinda Behera, Former Member, Board of Revenue.

The state should take attempt to protect the natural flow of the river and the livelihoods of the river dependent communities. Said Sudarshan Chhotray, Senior Journalist.

Among other were Ghasiram Panda, Programme Manager, ActionAid, BN Durga, Programme Officer, ActionAid, Biren Nayak, Programme Manager, ActionAid, Pushpasree Devi, Programme Manager, ActionAid, Sudeshna Mishra, Senior Programme Officer, ActionAid, Lopamudra Behera, Programme Officer, ActionAid present in the meeting


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