Bhubaneswar: With a significant number of flood control and multipurpose dam projects in the state, the government of Odisha has taken steps for the development of land adjacent to large dams.

This was discussed at a high-level meeting held today under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra on Lok Seva Bhawan’s digital mode, where Chief Water Resources Secretary Smt Anu Garg , presented different aspects of the discussion proposal.

Considering the proposal, Chief Secretary Suresh Mahapatra ordered the large dams and its adjacent lands to be developed into places of learning and recreation with a museum, audiovisual show, guided tour of the dams, boating and camping facilities. Mahapatra said, “Since large dams are greater engineering marvels, they can be good places to learn through leisure travel activities, especially for students.”

The chief secretary ordered to set up the museum with audiovisual equipment to explain to the students the scientific knowledge and the type of technology used in the construction of the dam. Students should also be informed about the different uses of a dam, including its ecosystem, the irrigation process, power generation, etc. He also led the organization of student tours of the dam and its periphery to give them direct exposure to the practical results of the dam project.

Principal Secretary Smt Garg estimated that dam projects such as Indra Lower Dam in Kalahandi District, Salia Dam in Khordha District, Jonk Upper Dam (Patara Dam) in Nuapada, the Upper Kolab Dam in Koraput, Samal Dam in Angul, Balimela Dam in Malkangiri, Harabhangi Dam in Gajapati, Kuanaria Dam in Nayagarh, Ghodahad Dam in Ganjam, Badanalla Dam in Raygada, Bhanjanagar Dam in Ganjam, Pitamahal Dam in Sundargarh, Kanjhari Dam in Keonjhar, Kansabahal Dam in Sundargarh, Salandi Dam in Keonjhar, Sanamachon Kehakandana DIP at MIP in Ganjam, Khadkhai Dam in Mayurbhani, Indrvhandi Dam in Hadagada Dam in Keonjhar District have the potential to be transformed into places of learning and recreation.

Development Commissioner Pradeep Kumar Jena ordered to select the dams closest to cities and growth centers with the most potential to attract people. It was decided to take over 3 to 4 of these dams in the first phase; and ‘gradually extend the intervention to other popular dams based on the lessons of the 1st phase. It has been estimated that around Rs. 4 cr would be invested for the development of each spot.

In addition, the Chief Secretary ordered to start boating activities in the reservoirs of the dams with appropriate safety and security measures. The Forestry and Environment Department has been tasked with finalizing the management methods for nautical facilities either through Van Surakshya Samities or through tourism agencies.

Development Commissioner PK Jena, Additional Chief Secretary for Forests and Environment Dr Mona Sharma, Senior Secretary for Tourism and General Administration and Public Grievances Surendra Kumar, Senior Secretary for Water Resources Smt Anu Garg and senior officials from relevant departments participated in the deliberations.

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