Odisha assembly debates on Mahanadi water dispute

Odisha assembly debates on Mahanadi water dispute

Bhubaneswar, Sep 23 (IANS) After two days of disturbance, the Odisha assembly on Friday discussed the Mahanadi water sharing issue and came down heavily on Chhattisgarh for its “unilateral” construction activities over the river.

Besides, the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata party criticised the state government for its double standard over the issue.

Participating in a motion moved by the ruling party chief whip, Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra alleged that the state government was aware of construction of activities taken up by the Chhattisgarh government since 2001.

Mishra said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the house that the Chhatisgarh government would not be allowed to proceed with any more projects without the consent of the Odisha government.

However, the state government did not act for the last 15 years and woke up to the situation only this year, said the opposition leader.

He demanded that the state government should bring out a white paper on the issue and discuss the matter in the house.

Assuring that the Congress party would cooperate with the government on the issue, Mishra also said the Chief Minister should lead a delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek his intervention.

Mishra, however, criticised the absence of the Chief Minister while the house was debating on the Mahanadi water sharing dispute.

“Where is the Chief Minister? Why is he running away from the house? Is this the way you fight for the rights of people?” asked Leader of Opposition.

He said the statement of Naveen Patnaik that he would fight till his last breath to protect the interests of the people on Mahanadi issue was for public consumption and not for achieving the goal.

BJP member Pradeep Purohit said both Naveen Patnaik and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh are hand in glove to protect the interest of industries, which will draw water from these projects.

Government Chief Whip Anant Prasad Das said the construction of activities of the Chhattisgarh government will seriously affect the non-monsoon flow in Mahanadi river.

Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said experts feel that water of Mahanadi would be dried out by 2020 following the projects on the upper catchment of the river.

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