BHUBANESWAR/JEYPORE: Even as the ruling BJD in Odisha puts the blame on Chhattisgarh for drying up of Mahanadi river during the non-monsoon period, Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu on Saturday lashed out at the government for neglecting the interest of the State by not proposing any project on the river in the last 22 years.
Responding to questions from mediapersons during his visit to Rayagada and Koraput districts on construction activities of the Chhattisgarh government on the river, the Minister said, Odisha government can take up similar projects in the lower catchment of the river. But it has not proposed any project at meetings of the Central Water Commission (CWC) or written to the Jal Shakti ministry in this regard, he added.
Tudu said if Chhattisgarh is going ahead with projects in the upper catchment of the Mahanadi river to meet the requirement of water for the people, Odisha can do so on the lower catchment. Requesting the State government to propose projects over the river, the Minister said that a lot of development work can be done during the next two years of the BJP government at the Centre.
Odisha’s Minister of State for Water Resources Raghunandan Das had told media persons on Thursday that the State government has moved the tribunal over the issue and will take action only after a decision is announced by it.
Meanwhile, the Union Minister stressed the need for educating tribals that can help change their socioeconomic status. Addressing a meeting at Ranguda panchayat under the Kundra block in Koraput district, Tudu said going with the Central government's objective, schools are being opened in different tribal blocks for educating tribal children.
“We have plans to open Ekalavya Adarsha school in every block of the State in the coming days. The socio-economic status of the tribals can be bettered only by educating them,” he said after laying the foundation stone for the Ekalavya Vidyalaya at Raniguda.
The school will be opened from 2024 academic year and about 600 tribal students from Class 6 to 12 can be enrolled. An amount of `19 crore has been sanctioned by the Central government for infrastructure work.