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Talks to resolve dam issue

Balangir, Dec. 17: The state government has invited representatives of the Lower Suktel Irrigation Project Action Committee and members of the Lower Suktel Budi Anchal Sangram Parishad for a tripartite talk on December 22 in Bhubaneswar to resolve the project’s issue.

The committee wants the project while the parishad is opposing it.

After district collector of Balangir Debaraj Mishra apprised the action committee members of the government’s decision, it decided to take part in the meeting but resolved that it would not call off its hunger strike outside the collectorate.

The project involves construction of a dam that would help irrigate two districts. The people, who are opposing the project, say several villages will be submerged.

Balangir MLA and former minister Ananga Udaya Singhdeo has appealed to the committee members to call off their agitation and take part in discussion.

Secretary of the committee Santosh Pradhan said: “We will send a delegation to the government for the talks. Whether we will call off the strike depends upon the outcome of the talk.”

Singhdeo said: “The central government’s deadline for the project is March 31. So, there is no time left for the project. It is time to take the members of the parishad into confidence and help the government to begin the work.”