BHUBANESWAR: Even as chief minister Naveen Patnaik left for New Delhi today to attend the tripartite meeting on Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh, the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) released a white paper demanding that the issue should be referred to a tribunal.
"The state government should request the Centre to constitute Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal as per the provision of the Inter-state Water Dispute Act, 1956", OPCC president Prasad Harichandan told to media here.
Harichandan said there should be an agreement between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on sharing of Mahanadi river water keeping interest of Odisha in mind.
Stating that Mahanadi river water should be used for drinking water and cultivation purposes only and not for business, he demanded that Mahanadi River Corporation should be set up by the Odisha government.
Harichandan also demanded that the state government formulate a Mahanadi river policy and bring out a document having information of all construction activities including dams, barrages and requirement of water for the next 100 years.
Alleging that the state government has completely failed to protect the interest of Odisha, Harichandan criticised the ruling BJD for doing politics over the issue.
Harichandan criticised the state government for the wide gaps in its announcement and action on the issue. Holding the state government responsible for the present situation, he said the chief minister was aware of the construction activities of the neighbouring state from 2000.
In a letter written to the then union water resources minister Arjun Charan Sethi on July 7, 2000, the chief minister had said that the Madhya Pradesh government has already constructed 8 big, 22 medium and 10 barrages across Mahanadi river. There were only 7 irrigation projects in 1957 in Madhya Pradesh when Hirakud dam project was constructed, he said.
The state BJP has also announced it will bring out a white paper on Mahanadi issue as the state government has failed to do so.