BHUBANESWAR: Normalcy returned to the Assembly after two days with the House taking up discussion on the 'unilateral' construction activities of Chhattisgarh Government over Mahanadi river and its tributaries.
Participating in the discussion, Leader of 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 activities taken up by Chhattisgarh 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 Chhattisgarh Government would not be allowed to proceed with any more projects without the consent of Odisha.
Arjun Charan Sethi of BJD was the Union Water Resources Minister in 2001. But Odisha Government did not act for the last 15 years and woke up to the situation only two months back, Mishra said and alleged that the CM wants to keep the issue alive for electoral gains.
Mishra also criticised the CM for not responding to his letters requesting him to call an all-party meeting or attend the same convened by him.
Alleging that the State Government is clueless on how to proceed to protect the interest of Odisha in the Mahanadi dispute with Chhattisgarh, Mishra said if negotiation fails, Odisha Government should request the Centre to constitute a tribunal to adjudicate over the issue.
The Opposition Leader demanded that the State Government should bring out a white paper on the issue and the CM 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 CM 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 Ananta Prasad Das moved the motion and said construction activities of Chhattisgarh Government will seriously affect the non-monsoon flow in Mahanadi river.
Naba Kishore Das, Subal Sahu and Prafulla Majhi (of Congress) 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.