Malkangiri: Safety of Balimela reservoir, the second largest earthen dam of Asia under Korukonda block in this district, is at stake as several crusher units have been in operation within a range half kilometer from the dam, according to a report.
When contacted, assistant engineer Kailash Chandra Sethi of the project said the matter would be brought to the knowledge of the collector. A national project of such a huge scale would get destroyed unless the matter is taken seriously by the administration, the engineer added.
Any damage to the dam would sweep thousands of people residing on the lower catchment regions of the dam, a group of panicky villagers including Madhu Muduli, Moti Dangayat, Shyam Dangayat, Narasingh Hantal expressing their fear said.
The crusher units have been running on Kamarguda and Maliguda hills over three years flouting government norms. Residents of a few villages including Maliguda, Kamarguda, Dantanuguda, Thikadar colony and Khukiguda have been spending sleepless nights as their thatched houses have developed large cracks after detonation of the hills by the crusher owners. Some houses were also found flattened due to dynamite blasts, the villagers alleged.
Apart from that locals find it difficult to raise crops in their farmlands as dust particles generated by these units have adversely affected fertility of the soil and their livelihoods are under threat, a report said. Though the villagers had taken up the matter with the administration on several occasions, it fell on deaf ears, it was learnt.
Questions are raised as to how the units were allowed to be set up in proximity of such an important structure like Balimela multipurpose irrigation project.