Sambalpur, Mar 09 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today asserted that only farmers had a right over the water of the Hirakud reservoir.
Addressing a Krushak Samavesh at Bargarh, Mr Patnaik said there would not be any effort to divert water to industries at the cost of the farmers.
Despite the bandh call given by the Western Orissa Lawyers' Association, thousands of farmers gathered at the Samavesh.
''Not a single drop of water from the farmers' share would be diverted to industries from the Hirakud reservoir or from any other water sources,'' the Chief Minister assured.
''Agriculture is the prime source of income here and the government is committed to the cause of the farmers in Orissa,'' Mr Patnaik said and appealed to the farmers not to get misled by any false propaganda.
He said a sum of Rs 200 crore had already been earmarked for the repair of the canals.
Besides the Command area, 35 per cent of the total agricultural land in each block would be provided irrigation facilities.
The Chief Minister said the government had already declared 2008 as the year of irrigation and decided to set up soil-testing laboratories in each block to provide the farmers all facilities at their door step.
Horticulture mission would be implemented with more vigour to make the state self sufficient in fruit production, Mr Patnaik said.
Besides the Chief Minister, state School and Mass Education Minister Sanjiv Sahu, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Sanatan Bisi, Works and Housing Minister A U Singhdeo, Planning and Coordination Minister Duryodhan Majhi addressed the meeting.
Later, reviewing the district developmental programme, Mr Patnaik directed the officials to take up the work on a war footing and ensure that the water reached the tail end of the Hirakud command area.
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