Odisha’s Young Duo Arrive In Noida After Cycling For 28 Days

After having travelled 1,600 km across the country on bicycles, two young college students, Krishnakant Sarangi and Subhrajit Barik, have arrived in Noida. The duo started their voyage from Cuttack earlier this month with an intention to meet the Prime Minister and highlight the plight of Odisha’s farmers due to the Mahanadi water dispute.

The students were welcomed by local residents at Yamuna Expressway on Sunday. They plan to proceed onwards to Delhi on Monday and meet PM Modi. They want to appeal to him about a quick resolution regarding the various barrages built on the Mahanadi by Chattisgarh, which is severely restricting the inflow of water in Odisha’s Hirakud reservoir.

“We want that the prime minister must personally resolve the dispute and dissolve the Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal as states never reach a consensus. We request setting up a river board instead of the tribunal. Millions of farmers in over 15 districts of Odisha have been affected and it’s a matter of their survival,” said Sarangi. “While development is required for the country, farmers must have first right over the waters of any river, against industrial interests,” he added.

Barik expressed his delight with the support they had received from the locals of all the districts they passed through. “When we apprised our principal about the reason for our journey, he granted us leave as we are doing it for the state and the farmers,” added Barik.

Dharmendra Sharma, general secretary of Sector-34 residents’ welfare association, lauded the efforts and the courage of this young duo. He personally went on a bicycle to receive them, along with 14 other residents.

“We coordinated through a friend and it is commendable what these young men are doing, despite limited resources. Their old bicycles are rusting but their mission is crystal clear. They also fell sick in Mathura and had to be hospitalised, yet they kept going on for the sake of the farmers,” said Sharma.

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