Hirakud Dam (HD) in Orissa is the largest earthen dam in the world. It is a composite structure of earth, concrete and stone. The reservoir was built on Mahanadi River and located about 15 km upstream of Sambalpur, town. The project was the first multi-purpose river valley project in post independent India, the major motive being to control flood, irrigation and power generation [1, 2, 4].
The foundation stone of the dam was laid by Sir Howthrone Lewis on March 15, 1946 and on January 13, 1957 the first prime minister of Indian republic Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the dam site. During the famous inaugural speech, he called the project as the ‘the temple of modern India’  For this project around 26,561 families of 369 villages were forcibly displaced. Among the total displaced 12,700 families are scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST). Due to lack of proper rehabilitation and suitable compensation, many of the displaced families settled in many parts of the Sambalpur and the neighboring districts. Many migrated to other states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Around 11, 000 families were settled in the fringe of the Hirakud Reservoir .
About 12,056 families got some form of compensation and about 9,944 families yet to get rehabilitation and compensation packages. Affected families are protesting for their due compensation and rehabilitation packages since the project was conceptualized  Although in the original plans there is no provision for water for industrial purposes, many companies have recently got permission from the concern authorities to dig wells in the reservoir area to draw water. Millions of farmers in Orissa who depend on Hirakud dam water to irrigate their agricultural land believe that diverting water for industry will severely affect their livelihood.
In different stages, the Orissa Krushak Sangathan, a state based organization, has agitated on the issue of water distribution and priority to industries. They sent collective letters to the president of India, blocked roads (on 26th Oct ‘06, around two thousand farmers formed a human chain on a main road), called for an open dialogue with the local political leaders and embracedd "non cooperation" protests. However, they got very little attention and were targeted with violence by police forces.
Due to displacement, since the time of early construction, different traditions and cultures of the people of western Orissa were severely affected.
On top of this, the significant divertion of water to industries is putting livelihoods of thousands of farmers and fishermen at stake.
After 50 years, one might ask what people gained form the dam. Many families have never seen any form of compensation, and the ecology of the river has been put at great distress.