CUTTACK: The row over river Mahanadi between Odisha and Chhattisgarh has reached the Orissa High Court which on Tuesday issued notices to the State Government and the Centre and directed them to file response within 10 days.
Acting on a PIL writ petition filed by Barada Prasanna Patnaik, convener of Mahanadi Banchao Mancha of Cuttack, a division bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice Vineet Saran and Justice BR Sarangi instructed the State and Centre to submit their response.
The petitioner challenged the inaction as well as illegal action of the opposite parties in dealing with the dispute on construction activities over river Mahanadi.
He said people of 15 districts of Odisha depend on Mahanadi water for cultivation and other purposes but Chhattisgarh has not taken required permission from Central Water Commission for constructing several dam projects on the upstream of the river. As a result of such construction, people of Odisha living in the downstream would suffer immensely.
Patnaik also sought a direction from the HC as to why Chhattisgarh Government shall not be restrained from proceeding with the ongoing projects in the upstream basin of Mahanadi till resolution of the dispute. He also questioned the inaction of Odisha Government which he alleged has not taken it up with the Centre to constitute an inter-state water dispute tribunal.
The petition also prayed the court why the Centre should not be directed to set up a tribunal for resolution of the dispute. At present, both Odisha and Chhattisgarh are engaged in a tug of war over construction of dam projects on the river. While the neighbouring State says that Odisha was in the know of things and has been communicated, the latter has feigned ignorance over the status of construction activities stating that it was deliberately kept in dark. A BJD team is currently visiting Chhattisgarh to assess the impact of Kelo project.