BJD urges BJP to resolve long-standing Mahanadi river dispute

Naveen had also taken up the issue in a meeting chaired by the Union Water Resources minister in 2016.
BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra
BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra Photo | Express

BHUBANESWAR: A day after Revenue and Disaster Management minister Suresh Pujari blamed the previous government for the delay in the resolution of the Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the BJD on Thursday hit back by stating that now that the BJP has a triple engine government it should take steps to resolve the dispute.

Countering the minister’s statement, senior BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra told mediapersons here that the previous government had taken up the Mahanadi dispute with the Centre, prime minister and Central Water Commission (CWC) several times. The Centre always ignored moves made by the previous government to resolve the dispute, he claimed.

Mishra said then chief minister Naveen Patnaik had drawn the attention of the central authorities towards the illegal construction of barrages by Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi river. Naveen had also taken up the issue in a meeting chaired by the Union Water Resources minister in 2016.

He had sought the Centre’s intervention to stop the Chhattisgarh government from carrying out the illegal activities as Odisha is heavily dependent on Mahanadi river to meet its water needs. But the Centre did not take any step as Chhattisgarh was also ruled by BJP, he added.

The BJD leader further said the Odisha government had moved the Supreme Court when it was unable to get justice from the Centre. The Centre formed the Mahanadi River Water Disputes Tribunal after a direction from the Supreme Court. The state government had presented all its claims before the tribunal.

“The BJD government had taken all possible steps to resolve the Mahanadi dispute. The Revenue minister’s statement was not only unfortunate but also misleading. Instead of blaming the previous government, the present BJP government should initiate steps to resolve the issue soon,” he added.

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