BHUBANESWAR: Mahanadi Bachao Andolan, an outfit spearheading the movement for conservation of the river, on Sunday demanded action against the Advocate General and Secretary of Water Resources department for not presenting Odisha’s case strongly before the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal.
Members of the outfit criticised the State Government for seeking more time from the tribunal for discussion with Chhattisgarh in this matter.
The delay in resolving the dispute is a matter of serious concern at a time when the water inflow of the river to Odisha has come down to 0.7 million acre feet (MAF) in 2016-17 against two MAF in 2005-06 in the non-monsoon period. “At a time when the flow of water to Hirakud has come down drastically due to construction of barrages by Chhattisgarh, buying more time for talks will only lead to water scarcity in the State during summer,” spokesperson of the outfit Prasanna Bisoi said. Though Odisha had filed an interim application before the tribunal seeking flow of 1.74 MAF water to the State during non-monsoon period from November to May, it failed to pursue the matter strongly, he alleged.
“The Government should take action against the Advocate General and the Water Resources Secretary as both have failed to take up the matter with the tribunal in a way it should have been taken,” he said. Convenor of the outfit Basudev Bhatt said, “If the Government fails to take action and resolve the dispute in time, we will intensify our protest in the State.”
Bhatt also urged the tribunal to instruct Chhattisgarh not to obstruct flow of water to Odisha during non-monsoon period.
Members of the outfit also criticised all the political parties, BJD, Congress and BJP, for deliberately delaying the matter in view of the General Elections. On Saturday, the tribunal had asked Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments to hold another round of talks to resolve water sharing dispute between the two States amicably before next hearing on May 11.