CII calls for study of water use by industrial houses

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 13 (UNI) The Orissa chapter of the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) today said a proper assesment of the water utilised for industrial and agricultural purposes should be made.

vice-chairman of the Orissa Chapter of CII S K Mohapatra said it was really difficult to ascertain the exact quantity of water being used by each sector as water utilised for irrigation was measured by acre-feet, while water used by industrial houses was normally measured in gallons.

Its chairman H M Nerurkar, however, appealed to all not to ''politicalise'' the matter. The CII's reaction came in the wake of recent agitation by the farmers of Hirakud Command areas backed by the opposition political partries protesting against the use of water from the Hirakud dam to the industrial houses.

Mr Mohapatra said that during his recent visit to Sardar Sarovar Project, he had came to know that only five per cent of the water was being used by the industrial houses.

He said though he could not state the exact quantity of water used by the industrial units in Orissa, he said that this must not be not more than five per cent.

Income-wise, water used for industrial purposes provided the highest return than agriculture, he said and added that the controversy over the useage of water was creating an 'artificial barrier' between agriculture and industry.

Mr Mohapatra said efforts should be made to sensitise the people, farmers and policy makers on the issue and remove the barrier.

Use of water for industrial houses has triggered off a major political tussle in Orissa, with all political parties, including the main Opposition party Congress opposing diversion of water from reservoirs for industrial purposes.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) recently demanded the government to cancel all MoUs signed for setting up the industries that permitted them to draw water from the reservoirs.

The issue gained momentum after Western Orissa farmers were allegedly beaten up by the police at Burla in the first week of this month during a demonstration opposing the supply of Hirakud water to industrial houses.

The Opposition leaders and farmers apprehended that the agriculture activity would be adversely affected if industrial houses were permitted to draw water from the reservoir.

But a study conducted by the government recently mentioned that there was enough water for drinking and irrigation purposes and the farming activities would not be affected if the industries used water of the reservoir.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had recently in a statement said that water meant for irrigation purposes would not be diverted to industrial houses and offered to hold discussions with the agitating farmers to resolve the issue.

UNI

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