BHUBANESWAR: A day after the Centre declined the Odisha’s request for constitution of a tribunal on the Mahanadi water dispute, an all-party meeting convened by Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat on Thursday decided to constitute a House Committee to chalk out strategy for future course of action on the contentious issue involving Chhattisgarh.
“We had a meeting in the Speaker’s chamber on the Mahanadi issue. We decided that a House Committee will be formed about this problem,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters after the meeting.
Expressing his displeasure over the stand taken by the Centre on the matter, the Chief Minister said, “What the the Central Government has done in the Supreme Court suggests that they are no longer a neutral referee in this matter.”
“We will have further discussion with leaders of other political parties to decided our future strategy,” he added.
During a discussion on a motion on Mahanadi issue on Wednesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha and Government Chief Whip Amar Satpathy had requested the Speaker for constitution of an Assembly panel to decided next course of action after the Centre backtracked from its promise of formation of a tribunal.
Leader of the BJP legislature party KV Singhdeo said the State Government is misinterpreting the affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court.
Since a Bill to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha in the budget session of the Parliament and the Bill proposes to establish a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) for resolution of conflict through negotiation, the formation of a tribunal at this juncture will not serve the purpose.
Besides, the State Government is not cooperating with the Centre which had taken the initiative to resolve the issue through negotiation, he said.
“We asked the State Government to provide all relevant information relating to the disputes to all political parties so that a meaningful discussion could take place,” Singhdeo said.
The opposition Congress and BJP members requested the Chief Minister to convene an all-party meeting on the issue.