KEONJHAR: Shrinking water bodies and depleting groundwater level in the district has once again brought to the fore the demand to protect river Baitarani, considered the 'lifeline of Keonjhar'.

The Keonjhar Citizen's Forum blamed the present situation on the 'faulty policy' of the government. "The water of the district is allocated to different industries and mining houses, without any consultation with the people here, who have the first right on the water," the forum alleged.