PARADIP: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik slammed the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre for keeping mum on the long-standing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the sharing of water from Mahanadi river.
Addressing the gathering at the concluding day of 'Mahanadi Surakshya Abhiyan’ at Paradip on Friday, the Chief Minister said Odisha Government is not fighting for the water of the river, the movement is to protect the right of Mahanadi.
“It is not a political movement. It has turned a people’s movement because our campaign has received good response from Jharsuguda to Jagatsinghpur district that covered a distance of 500 km,” he said.
Stating that Mahanadi is the lifeline of Odisha, Naveen said, the Union Government has been supporting Chhattisgarh Government for illegal construction of barrages on the river, which is drying up
“Odisha BJP leaders are also supporting Chhattisgarh Government for illegal construction of dams, but shedding crocodile tears in the State to gain sympathy. This has exposed the double standard of the leaders and people here have already realised it,” the BJD supremo said.
The tribunal for the adjudication of dispute on Mahanadi river waters was set up after the Odisha Government moved the Supreme Court, the CM said and blamed the Centre for the delay in providing Terms of Reference (ToR)
He dared the State BJP leader to show courage and stop or protest illegal construction of dams on Mahanadi by Chhattisgarh Government.
“As Chhattisgarh blocked the flow of water into Odisha, the eco-system down the line has been substantially hit along with the livelihood of farmers and fishermen community. People of the State are now united to fight for the right of Mahanadi and the movement will continue till the justice is done,” Naveen added.
Local MLA and former Minister Damodar Rout, who presided over the meeting, also strongly criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for extending support to Chhattisgarh Government and being instrumental in depriving Odisha of its share of Mahanadi water.
“Modi is acting as a mediator to expedite the illegal construction of barrages, which were started without consulting Odisha and the Central Water Commission. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee had taken the lead to resolve water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,” Rout said and advised Modi to follow the principles of Bajpayee to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute.
The CM was accompanied by Water Resources and Housing and Urban Development Minister Niranjan Pujari, Health and Family Welfare Minister Pratap Jena, BJD MP Prasanna Acharaya, former Ministers Debi Prasad Mishra, Sanjay Dasburma and Pramila Mallick.
The BJD leaders warned to intensify the movement if the Chhattisgarh Government and the Centre did not stop construction of barrages and obstruction of the flow of Mahanadi water. Earlier, Mahanadi Abhiyan Rath reached at Kujang which was welcomed by the local people including the members of the fishermen community and different trade unions. The Rath was taken to Paradip in a grand procession.