BHUBANESWAR: Even as the BJD has renewed its campaign over the Mahanadi river water dispute by criticising the Centre for the delay in announcing the terms of reference of the tribunal, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has convened a meeting of all the basin states at New Delhi on April 12 to discuss the interstate aspect of the projects proposed by Odisha and Chhattisgarh on the river basin. Besides Odisha and Chhattisgarh, officials from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand will also attend the meeting.
The meeting to be presided over by chairman of the CWC will discuss projects which have been allowed or under consideration on Mahanadi river basin. The scheduled meeting has again ensued a war between BJD and BJP over the issue.
While BJD Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Deb criticised the Centre for delaying the process for resolving the dispute between the two states by not announcing terms of reference of the tribunal only to help Chhattisgarh where the BJP is in power, union minister for tribal affairs Jual Oram alleged that the regional party is trying to fool the people of Odisha by blaming the neighbouring state over the issue. Six projects proposed to be constructed by the Chhattisgarh government on the Mahanadi basin will be discussed at the meeting. The projects of Chhattisgarh to be discussed are, Arpa Bhaisajhar barrage project, Rajiv Samodha Nisda scheme phase-II, Tandula reservoir augmentation scheme, Sondul reservoir and Mahanadi reservoir projects and Sukha nala. Out of these projects, the Arpa Bhaisajhar barrage project has been accepted by the CWC at 130th advisory committee meeting held on September 30, 2016.
The Odisha projects to be discussed at the meeting are the Khadaga barrage project, Tel Integrated Multipurpose project, Lower Suktel irrigation project and Katangi medium irrigation project. All the four projects are under appraisal of the CWC. Official sources said additional projects of Mahanadi basin if suggested by the state government concerned will also be taken up for discussion provided the same is communicated to CWC with intimation to co-basin states.
Meanwhile, union minister of state for water resources Arjun Ram Meghawal is also scheduled to meet officials of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar at Kolkata on April 16 to discuss outstanding water resources issues. The Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh will also come up for discussion at the conference of eastern states.
The Mahanadi Bachao Andolan, a state-level water conservation outfit today launched awareness drive on Mahanadi water dispute from Lingaraj Temple in the capital city.
The outfit will start a signature campaign and padayatra from Kalma to Puri on April 11 demanding opening of gates of Kalma barrage by Chhattisgarh. “The members of the outfit will go on a campaign and collect signatures from people living along the river which will be sent for consideration of the Chief Justice of India,” the outfit’s convenor, Sudarsan Das said.