Drought prone Nuapada district will transform into a agriculturally rich region noted CM Naveen Patnaik while inaugurating the mega Lower Indra irrigation project today.

The much delayed project has taken over two decades for completion.

The CM inaugurated and laid foundation stones for projects worth Rs 4000 crore in the district and recalled legendary Biju Patnaik’s words when he carved out Nuapada from the erstwhile undivided Kalahandi district.

“ In 1993, Biju Babu had declared Nuapada a separate district and when asked about the reason behind it, Biju Babu had said that Nuapada is the youngest child of mother Odisha which is far away. As every parent loves a child staying far away, he is also paying special attention to Nuapada. Biju Babu’s youngest child, Nuapada,has created a unique identity for itself in the development journey of Odisha today. Now the Nuapada has become a strong 27 year old youth” he said.

With the functioning of Lower Indra Irrigation Project, lakhs of people of Nuapada and Balangir district will benefit.

It is built with underground pipeline technology to ensure minimum wastage of water and increased irrigation, he said.

The CM said Rs 220 crore mega lift irrigation projects will be completed by the end of this year which will irrigate around 18000 hectares of agricultural land.

Referring to the scourge of fluoride contaminated water in the district and how women had to walk miles for potable water, the CM said today about 55 percent houses have been provided with Piped Water.

More than 1000 Fluoride Removal Plants have been installed. More than 900 villages are now 100 percent free from the fluoride problem. In Nuapada, about 1 lakh families have been provided Piped Water.

By 2022, every family of Nuapada will be provided 100 percent Piped water, he said.

He announced that a science park and a museum will be set up at the Lower Indra dam site at a cost of Rs 3 crore.

He also announced to set up two Indoor Stadiums in Nuapada and Khariar. Nuapada has benefitted the most from the Biju Expressway. At a cost of 680 crores, a total 132 kms of roads in this project have been constructed in Nuapada, he said. Incidentally, today’s trip to Nuapada was in line with the CM’s focus on western Odisha districts after 10 months of COVID during which he had by and large confined himself to video conference from his residence. His first trip was to Kalahandi district followed by one to Sundargarh. In each of these the CM has been inaugurating and laying foundation stones for projects entailing over 3000 crore.

It needs mention that the Lower Indra project inaugurated today had been conceived way back in the nineties. The survey and other related work had taken place by 1997.

It is located over River Indra , a tributary of Tel near Dargaon. The displaced comprised mostly of the Paharia community. Paharias are having ST status in neighboring Chatisgarh but in Odisha they are OBC.

*Original article, titled Odisha CM inaugurates Lower Indra project in drought prone Nuapada, online at https://www.thestatesman.com/india/cm-inaugurates-lower-indra-project-drought-prone-nuapada-1502956646.html