BHUBANESWAR: President of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik on Tuesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that Chhattisgarh opens the gates of Kalma barrage before his visit to the State on Saturday which would mitigate the distress of at least two crore people living downstream of river Mahanadi while ridiculing his elusive ‘acche din’.
“Four years back while seeking votes, he (Modi) had promised ‘acche din’. We the people of Odisha are in a state of distress. Two crore people, who are residing on the banks of Mahanadi, are in misery. We would request the Prime Minister to open the Kalma barrage before coming here which can instill some amount of trust and hope among the people of Odisha,” he said.
Patnaik also demanded that the Prime Minister should intervene to ensure that works of the ongoing projects upstream of Mahanadi are stopped. He appealed to the Prime Minister to make the inter-state river dispute tribunal constituted for resolving the Mahanadi water dispute fully functional and at the same time expedite the process. Chhattisgarh should stop all construction works over Mahanadi river till the tribunal gives its decision, he said.
The Congress organised a demonstration over rise in the prices of petrol and diesel in which several senior leaders including the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Narasingh Mishra attended. Party leaders announced that the visit of Prime Minister to Cuttack on May 26 will be opposed.
BJD’s Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya also launched a scathing attack on the BJP over Mahanadi water dispute accusing the saffron party of neglecting the interests of the people of Odisha to settle political scores. Acharya alleged that the Prime Minister’s visit to address a public meeting in Cuttack is an act of rubbing salt to the injury of crores of Odias.
“The Prime Minister, who is, directly and indirectly, responsible for the disruption in water flow of Mahanadi, is going to hold a public meeting on Mahanadi riverbed. It’s a clear case of adding insult to injury of Odias,” he said.