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Machkund hydroelectric project in Odisha is an ancient signature of Andhra-Odisha venture

5/05/2022 at 8:19 PM

Koraput, May 5: At a time when Andhra Pradesh and Odisha are struggling a war of identity, for an ounce of water at  Polavaram and a piece of land at Kotia group of villages since decades long,

Machkund hydroelectric project in Odisha’s Koraput district is a glorious signature of Andhra-Odisha relationship, since at least 66 years ago.

The Machkund hydroelectric project was proposed in the year 1931, by the British rulers. However, the hydro-power plant was set up by Andhra Pradesh in collaboration with Odisha, in the year 1959.The project work was completed within a year with the help of Morgan Smith of USA and Jm Voith of Germany with installing as many as 6 power generation turbines. Since then the hydroelectric plant has been generating 120 Megawatt hydro-power so far.

As per the memorandum of understanding, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh had been sharing the power in a ratio of 3:7. That means Odisha was consuming 30 per cent of the total power production while neighboring Andhra was receiving 70 per cent of it. Later, the stakes were equalized with an amicable agreement, that is each state entertained equal rights and equal share from electricity or the dividend procured from the power exchange.

Apart from it, personnel from both Odisha and the Andhra Pradesh have been working under the same roof of the power plant, keeping up a good understanding and brotherly hoods for more than 90 years. Both the staffers share their culture, tradition and language in each social functions, whether its Andhra bound or Odisha bound.

During a tenure of almost 9 decades, not a single incident has blurred the deeper bond between the officials of the two state which has brought ill-will among them, despite a lot of disparity and anomaly regarding language, culture and tradition.

However, in the era of globalization, Andhra-Odisha relationship is being worsened due to the administrative interference of Andhra Pradesh at Kotia, which awaits judicial intervention of the Apex court. Similarly, the Polavaram project on the Andhra-Odisha border is exempting people of Odisha, in the lower catchment to get a drip of water drops for its poverty-stricken farmers.

Sociologist Dr Ranjit Mohanty said, the authorities of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh should learn a lot from the ancient agreement, signed at the threshold of the early sixties before the commission of the Machkund hydro-power project in one of the tributaries of the Godavari. Most significantly, we all should recognize the essence of brotherly hood maintained by the power plant officials in view of the good understanding ascertained by the two- neighboring states.

It’s the high time to promote bilateral discussion between the chief functionary of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to end up the Kotia border dispute and the Polavaram issue amicably on the same table, Mohanty added.         

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