Bhubaneswar: Thousands of activists Monday participated in a protest here to oppose the Odisha government’s move to divert water from the state’s various rivers for industrial purposes at the cost of farming.
The activists, under the banner of Mahanadi Bachao (save Mahanadi) Committee, took out a motorcycle rally and gathered near the state assembly here to stage a sit-in demonstration.
About 2,000 people, cutting across party lines, participated in the rally and the sit-in, Samir Dey, former state minister and a leader of the Mahanadi Bachao Committee, told IANS.
The Mahanadi river flows through Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand and passes through 14 districts of Odisha.
“The state government had promised that the river water would be first used for irrigation and drinking purposes, and only surplus water would be given to industries,” Dey said.
The industries are not only drawing excess water from the Mahanadi but also from other rivers in the state. It leaves little for the people to utilize the water for farming and drinking purposes, he added.
He accused the government of providing river water to various industries by ignoring the interest of the common people.
“The government is not monitoring the water usage. Therefore, we are demanding establishment of a water commission to deal with such issues,” he said.
Dey said the protesters submitted a memorandum to the state assembly speaker Pradip Amat and distributed literature on the issue among legislators.