BHUBANESHWAR: Coming in for strong criticism for its inaction to stop construction activities of Chhattisgarh government over river Mahanadi and its tributaries which has led to the present condition, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today called upon all political parties to join hands to protect the interest of Odisha.
Participating in the discussion on the motion in this regard in the assembly, several BJD leaders maintained that the past should be forgotten and steps should now be taken to correct the situation.
Stating that non-monsoon flow of water in Mahanadi is decreasing, minister for school and mass education Debi Prasad Mishra said now the time has come to fight unitedly. If the situation continues, Mahanadi will be dry by 2026, he said and added even now irrigation will be seriously affected in the delta region.
Criticising the Centre for siding with the Chhattisgarh government on the issue, Mishra said even after chief minister Naveen Patnaik's letter to prime minister Narendra Modi on July 4, 2016 requesting his intervention, the water resources ministry cleared the Arpa-Bhaisajhar barrage.
Mishra, who attended the tripartite meeting convened by the Centre at New Delhi on September 17, along with the chief minister alleged that union water resources minister Uma Bharti was silent when the Odisha government demanded construction work on projects should be stopped till the matter is resolved.
Minister for housing and urban development Pushpendra Singhdeo alleged that the Chhattisgarh government has constructed barrages by showing them as minor irrigation project to provide water to industries.
Minister of state for food and consumer welfare Sanjay Dasburma said all ecological hotspots linked to Mahanadi including the Chilika lake will be affected because of construction of dams and barrages by Chhatisgarh government.
Minister of state for law Arun Sahu said all should forget the past and fight unitedly to protect the interest of the state. Former minister Padmanabha Behera demanded that the issue should be resolved immediately or else the Odisha will be seriously affected.