BHUBANESWAR: A day after Chhattisgarh Irrigation Minister Brij Mohan Agarwal alleged that the ruling BJD in Odisha has politicised the Mahanadi river water dispute without making serious efforts to resolve it, he came in for strong criticism from his party colleague of the State Bijoy Mohapatra on Saturday.
“He (Agrawal) should not vitiate the atmosphere by making such statements when a meeting between the two Chief Ministers is scheduled at New Delhi on September 17,” Mohapatra said.
Stating that Mahanadi is not an issue of BJD alone, Mohapatra said all Opposition political parties in Odisha, including the BJP, were part of the all-party meeting convened on August 3 where the demand for constitution of a River Board to resolve the issue was accepted.
Mohapatra alleged that by raising the issue of alleged diversion of water from Indravati, Tel and Jonk rivers by Odisha Government, the Chhattisgarh Minister is trying to prolong the dispute with Odisha. The BJP leader said while the Centre’s response to the issue has been positive so far, Chhattisgarh is trying to derail the proposed talks.
Meanwhile, the BJD has strongly reacted to Agarwal’s statement. “The Minister is trying to derail the tripartite meeting among the Centre and the two States on September 17 by raising these issues now,” party spokesman Surya Narayan Patro said.
Targeting the BJD Government in Odisha, Agarwal on Friday said it is making the issue more political. “Instead of discussing the issue with our officials, why the party has taken the issue to the Centre? When we can sit together and sort out the issue at our end, what is the need of seeking intervention of the Centre? Is BJD not making the issue more political?” he asked.
The BJD team, headed by Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya, which visited Chhattisgarh to make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation, is yet to submit its report to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Chief Minister has convened a high-level meeting on September 12 to review before the tripartite meeting at New Delhi.