BHUBANESWAR: As the Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh is all set to drag on beyond the next general elections in 2019, chief minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik
has decided to lead from the front the agitation over the issue by flagging off the party's 'Janasachetanata Yatra' on May 16.
Political observers believe that the BJD aims to steal a march over its political rivals BJP and Congress through the yatra which will cover 15 districts on both sides of the Mahanadi river as election
for the urban local bodies is scheduled in November this year while the general elections are only a year away.
The yatra will travel from Bargarh and Jharsuguda districts in the Western Odisha to Paradip in coastal Odisha. The chief minister will launch the Yatra at Sukhasoda, where Mahanadi has entered Odisha
in Lakhanpur block of Jharsuguda district at 9 am and at Chikhili in Ambabhona block of Bargarh district at 10 pm.
The yatra will move through Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Boudh, Angul, Dhenkanal, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Khurda, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts. Roadside and public
meetings and cultural programmes will be held on the way to create awareness among the people about the Mahanadi river water dispute. A booklet and pamphlets prepared by the BJD will be distributed among the people.
An awareness campaign will also be launched by the BJD in other districts over the issue. Besides, lamps will be lighted in all the old temples along the way to draw the attention of the people to the issue. “Jala Alati” will be held at Ma Samaleswari temple at Sambalpur and Gadagadeswar peetha at Cuttack.
The programme was announced at a media conference by BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra, general secretary Sanjay Kumar Dasburma, former minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, state secretary Bijay Nayak
and Cuttack district president Pratap Jena. The BJD leaders called upon the people to participate in the yatra to make it a success.