BHUBANSEHWAR: Normalcy returned to the assembly after two days with the house taking up discussion on the 'unilateral' construction activities of the Chhattisgarh government over river Mahanadi and its tributaries.
Participating in the discussion, leader of the opposition Narasingh Mishra criticised the double speak of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) over the issue and alleged that the state government was aware of construction of activities taken up by the Chhattisgarh government since 2001.
Referring to the discussion on an adjournment motion notice on the issue in the assembly in 2001, Mishra said chief minister Naveen Patnaik had assured that Chhatisgarh government would not be allowed to proceed with any more projects without the consent of Odisha government.
Arjun Charan Sethi of the BJD was the union water resources minister in 2001. But the Odisha government did not act for the last 15 years and woke up to the situation only two months back, Mishra said and alleged the chief minister wants to keep the issue alive for electoral gains.
Mishra also criticised the chief minister for not responding to his letters requesting him to call an all party meeting or attend the all party meeting convened by him. Alleging that the state government is clueless on how to proceed to protect the interest of Odisha in the Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh, Mishra said if negotiation fails, the Odisha government should request the Centre to constitute a tribunal to adjudicate over the issue.
The leader of the Opposition demanded that the state government should bring out a white paper on the issue and the chief minister should lead a delegation to meet prime minister Narendra Modi at New Delhi to seek his intervention.
Stating that the Congress will fully cooperate with the state government on the issue, Mishra said, "if the chief minister leads a delegation to the Prime Minister and extends an invitation, I give consent on behalf of the Congress to be part of it."
Government chief whip Anant Prasad Das moved the motion and said construction of activities of Chhattisgarh government will seriously affect the non-monsoon flow in Mahanadi river.
His party colleagues Naba Kishore Das, Subal Sahu and Prafulla Majhi warned the state government that there will be no water for irrigation and drinking purposes if steps are not taken to resolve the issue.
Criticising the BJD for politicising the issue, BJP members Pradip Purohit and Bibhuti Bhusan Harichandan called upon members cutting across partylines to fight for the interest of Odisha on the issue.