The Odisha government plans to construct at least 1,000 bridge-cum-weirs or low dams to function as sources of irrigation and drinking water across the east Indian state in three years, according to senior officials.
Several bridge-cum-weir structures have earlier been built in the state and, as their impact was found positive, the administration has decided to scale up replication of this model, said a PTI report.
State chief secretary SC Mohapatra said that the technology behind the structures is the most cost effective with multiple utilities such as groundwater recharge, raising the water level in river beds and irrigating the fertile land on both sides of the river.
While reviewing the water-holding capacity of the bridge-cum-weir structures piloted in some districts at a meeting on Sunday, the official said that in some places, riverfront parks can also be developed as a public utility.
Development Commissioner PK Jena said that the structures had no adverse effect on the usual flow of water in the river concerned.
The chief secretary directed the works department to identify the high-level bridges on all roads under the departments of rural development and works where such structures would be feasible.
A target was set to construct 1,000 such bridge-cum-water wire structures in three years, Mohapatra said.
Works Secretary VV Yadav said that around 49 bridges had been taken up for such structures on a pilot basis. Out of this, the structures under 12 bridges in districts including Dhenkanal, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj and Bhadrakh were completed. The remaining 37 structures would come up in the districts of Angul, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Ganjam, Keonjhar, Kalahandi, Bolangir and Sundargarh.
The horticulture department was asked to encourage farmers to cultivate vegetables and cash crops. The water could also be used for drinking water projects, the chief secretary said.