BHUBANESWAR: The Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh came to the centrestage again with the chief ministers of the two states differing over the issue.
While Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who is here to attend the two-day national executive committee meeting of the BJP, said he is open to talks to resolve the dispute, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik alleged that Singh has not been cooperative to sort out the issue.
"Union minister for water resources Uma Bharti had called a meeting of the Chhattisgarh chief minister and myself. He (Raman) was totally non-cooperative," Naveen told mediapersons while reacting to Singh's claim that the dispute could be resolved in three minutes if the two chief ministers met for a discussion.
Singh said on his arrival here, "We are ready for talks on the Mahanadi issue with CM Naveen Patnaik." He described the dispute as a non-issue and said it was unnecessarily made an issue during the panchayat election in Odisha.
Bharti, who also arrived here to attend the BJP's national executive meeting, preferred not to comment on the dispute. "As the Odisha government has taken the matter to court, I should not comment on it," she said.
Bharti, however, said that Odisha and West Bengal governments are not cooperating with the 'interlinking of rivers' project. Stating that the Centre has plans to link the Teesta-Sankosh river with the Mahanadi, she said the river in Odisha will get water from both the rivers. If there is additional water, it will be discharged to the Godavari, she added.
The Odisha government has taken the issue to the court alleging that construction of projects by the Chhattisgarh government on the upstream of Mahanadi river has led to reduced flow of water to the Hirakud reservoir in Odisha.
The Chhattisgarh government, however, did not accept the Odisha government's claim of a reduced water flow. The Odisha government has already moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay order on Chhattisgarh's construction activities.
The Odisha CM had recently raised the issue in the meeting of the standing committee of the Inter-State Council at New Delhi and demanded that the dispute be referred to a special tribunal. He had also demanded that the Chhattisgarh government be asked to stop all construction activities on Mahanadi river.