PARKOD (NUAPADA)/ROURKELA : CHHATTISGARH: Chief Minister Raman Singh yet again flayed the Naveen Patnaik-led State Government for ignoring farmers and not utilising the irrigation potential of river Mahanadi.
Addressing three public meetings in Nuapada district on Saturday, he said farmers in Odisha faced drought last season but are yet to get compensation for crop loss. Had this been in Chhattisgarh, farmers would have got all the help “by now and situation would have been different”, Raman said.
Both Odisha and Chhattisgarh share a strong relationship as far as river Mahanadi is concerned, he said, adding that the river is the mother of both the States. Explaining that he is travelling to Odisha to resolve the dispute on sharing water of the ‘Mother River’, Raman said that while it flows 350 km in Chhattisgarh, it covers 450 km in Odisha.
Accusing Odisha of failing to harness the water of the river, he said his Government provides 90 per cent electricity to farmers while 40 per cent of farmers are deprived of electricity in Odisha. “This is not only affecting agriculture, but also triggering migration, poverty and unemployment,” Raman observed.
The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister said the Odisha Government should lay thrust on issues like ‘Bijli, Sadak, Pani’ instead of politicising a non-issue like Mahanadi water dispute.
Highlighting development undertaken in his State, Raman said people from Chhattisgarh do not migrate anymore but people from other States are coming to Chhattisgarh to earn livelihood because of the development-oriented work of his Government.
However, political observers in the district saw the address as a home work for 2019 poll. They said Raman is not campaigning for panchayat poll but is out to tarnish the image of Naveen and the BJD.
In his second leg of campaign for Sundargarh Zilla Parishad (ZP) poll, Raman on Saturday addressed public meetings of the BJP at Purunapani in Nuagaon block and at Jalda of Lathikata block. He was accompanied by Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram.
At Jalda, he raised the Mahanadi issue but refrained from directly naming his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik. He said Mahanadi, connecting the two States, is regarded as ‘mother’ by the people of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and he is pained at the efforts to create dispute over it for political reasons.
“There is no dispute and there should not be any over the next 100 years. The present differences can be resolved in an hour,” Raman said, adding that with 87 per cent of water in catchment area, Chhattisgarh uses only 4 per cent water, Odisha uses 14 per cent and rest of the water flows into the sea.
With the present flow, Hirakud dam could be filled four times and more water storage facilities could be built downstream the river in Odisha. He said in view of the panchayat polls and Assembly poll in 2019, the river issue is raked up to ‘divert’ attention from myriad problems plaguing Odisha.
Drawing parallel with his Government’s development parameters and implementation of welfare schemes, Raman held lack of political will power as reason for Odisha’s poverty. He said inheriting backwardness and regional imbalance, Chhattisgarh has just entered into its 17th year of formation, and is on the verge to become a developed State.
“I am also elected for third time, but why is there a gaping difference between the two States having equal richness in natural resources?” Raman asked.