BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met representatives of 115 organisations on Thursday including some political parties to listen to their opinions on Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh even as opposition political parties dismissed the exercise as a political gimmick.
Representatives from different organisations and individuals from Sonepur, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Angul, Paradip, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Nayagarh, Bhubaneswar and Khurda met the CM at his Secretariat chamber to present their opinions on the issue ahead of the tripartite meeting convened at New Delhi on September 17.
State secretary of CPI Dibakar Nayak, who met the CM, said the matter should be referred to a tribunal for adjudication. Rejecting the proposal for forming a River Board or a Joint Control Board to resolve the dispute, Nayak said Odisha would not benefit from these as their recommendations are not mandatory.
He also called upon both Odisha and Chhattisgarh Governments to resolve that water from Mahanadi should be utilised for irrigation purposes only and not for industries.
State president of Samajwadi Party Rabi Behera said Odisha should be allowed to utilise 60 per cent of water of Mahanadi in non-monsoon season. He criticised the Chhattisgarh Government for constructing dams and barrages on the river without taking Odisha into confidence and called upon all political parties to join hands to protect the interest of the State.
However, Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Narasingh Mishra dismissed the exercise as yet another gimmick by the CM. Local leaders of BJD have been engaged to carry these people to Bhubaneswar to meet the CM and give the meetings wide publicity, he said.
Stating that the CM should make the suggestions he received public, Mishra said listening to somebody is not discussion.
There is no interaction in these meetings, he said and added that the exercise has been undertaken only to create an impression among the people.
The consultation process will also continue on Friday.