BHUBANESWAR: The tripartite meeting convened by the union water resources ministry to resolve the Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh remained inconclusive with both the governments remaining adamant on their respective stands.
The water resources ministry, however, proposed that a committee should be formed under officer on special duty of the ministry to examine all the projects of Chhattisgarh and Odisha which are eligible to be first studied by technical advisory committee (TAC), but are being built without TAC's go ahead.
"The committee under OSD will study data from the two states within a week to see if rules were flouted while constructing the projects," union water resources minister Uma Bharti told mediapersons.
The committee, which will also have officials from the two states as their members, will study the projects within a week. Two teams will be sent to the two states to gather data. She also proposed that both Odisha and Chhattisgarh stop work for a week on projects which have become a bone of contention between the two states.
However, an unhappy Naveen Patnaik announced that the Odisha government will decide its future course of action at the cabinet meeting convened by him on Sunday.
While the Odisha government proposed setting up of a fact finding committee of experts after all construction activities on the river are stopped by the Chhattisgarh government, the latter wanted formation of a joint control board (JCB). The Chhattisgarh government, however, did not agree to the Odisha's demand to stop all construction activities while the latter rejected the proposal for constitution of a JCB.
Stating that the people of Odisha are seriously concerned over the construction activities of Chhattisgarh in the upper catchment of Mahanadi river basin without sharing critical data and by not taking consent whenever necessary, Naveen said in many cases there has been serious violation of statutory requirements.
Naveen said the fact finding committee proposed by him should collect data without making any recommendations and submit its report within three months. After the relevant data are made available, a discussion should be held for allocation of water to both the states, he said and added that the Centre should assist in arriving at a settlement within six months.
The Odisha chief minister said requirements of statutory clearances have been side-stepped by Chhattisgarh government through various means. Construction of seven barrages in a cascading manner poses a serious threat to the non-monsoon water flow in the river, he said and added barrages which are meant for industries have been projected as minor irrigation projects.
Naveen said construction activities in the upper catchment will have drastic affect on the fragile eco-system of Manahadi delta region where five ecologically fragile hotspots are situated.
Chhatisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, however, said the quantum of water which flows from Chhattisgarh to Odisha's Hirakud Dam can fill the reservoir "five times" and described Odisha's objection as "surprising".
Singh said the six barrages, opposed by the Odisha government are 99 percent complete and donot require permission of the Central Water Commission (CWC).
"Chhattisgarh is using only 15 percent of the river water. 35 percent is used by Odisha. Rest is flowing into the sea. Odisha should use the water going into sea," Singh advised Odisha government.