BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday announced its decision to intensify agitation over Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh even as the State Government has already decided to approach the Supreme Court for a settlement of the issue.
Announcing the decision at a media conference here, BJD spokespersons Prasanna Acharya, Surya Narayan Patro and Pratap Keshari Deb said signatures from 87 lakh families, affected by the projects constructed by Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi, will be collected and submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee at a date to be fixed later.
Besides a human chain will also be formed from Hirakud to Paradip to protest against the construction activities of Chhattisgarh Government on the upstream of Mahanadi river.
The BJD leaders said a preparatory meeting to be presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, will be held on November 7 here for smooth conduct of the programmes. All party MPs, MLAs, State office-bearers and district presidents will attend the meeting.
Mounting a scathing attack on the Centre for supporting the Chhattisgarh Government on the issue, the BJD leaders alleged that there was no response to the letter written by the CM to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting his intervention to resolve the dispute.
The BJD leaders said the CM had proposed at the tripartite meeting convened by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti at New Delhi on September 17 that Chhattisgarh should be asked to stop all construction work till the dispute is resolved. He had said that a committee of experts should be set up which would submit its report within a month. However, the Chhattisgarh Government had rejected the proposal.
The BJP, on the other hand, alleged that the BJD is trying to politicise the issue keeping an eye on the panchayat polls. "The BJD is trying to make Mahanadi an issue ahead of the Panchayat polls," senior BJP leader Sajjan Sharma said.