Maha Blow on Odisha

Odisha Government today received a major blow in its efforts to resolve the River Mahanadi water sharing row with neighbouring Government of Chhatisgarh after the Union Government  refused to form a Tribunal on the ground that Odisha did not furnish sufficient information.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the Centre said the Odisha government did not provide required information.

“Hence, there is no need to constitute a tribunal,” the Counsel for the Union Government Wasim A Qadri said in the affidavit.

According to Mr.Qadri, Odisha Government had been asked to submit information needed for the proposed Tribunal by November 19.

Ruling BJD, which has been waging a struggle on the issue for over a year now, termed the move as proof of the Union Government apathy towards Odisha.

Senior BJD leader and MP Pratap Kesari Deb, who told reporters that the party will chalk out the future course of action soon, said the NDA government led by the BJP always wanted to favour the Chhatisgarh government which is ruled by the Party also.

“We knew always that the NDA wants to support the cause of the Chhattisgarh government. The Centre always conspired to hamper Odisha’s interest in this regard. We will chalk out our future course of action soon,” Deb told reporters in Bhubaneswar.

Meanwhile, during a discussion in the Odisha Assembly, Government Chief Whip Amar Prasad Satpathy said 41% less water flowed in Mahanadi river in November this year as compared to the same month last year due to barrages constructed by the Chhattisgarh government on upper catchment areas.

He further stated water flow in the river will reduce by 73% in March and 77% by May 2018. As many as 16 districts of the State will be affected following the reduction in water flow, Satpathy informed.

He alleged, “The Centre has been a mute spectator though Chhattisgarh is busy setting up barrages on Mahanadi.”

Slamming both the State government and the Centre, Opposition leader Narasingha Mishra said in the Assembly, “The Odisha government has been neglecting Chhattisgarh’s barrage construction issue since 2000. On the other hand, the Centre has violated rules by delaying formation of a tribunal.”

The State BJP tried to assure the people of the State that it will ensure adequate flow of water in the river during the non-monsoon period.

“We are committed to ensure that there is adequate flow of water in the river during non-monsoon period also. We will fight with Chhatisgarh also if need be,” said State BJP vice president Sameer Mohanty.

Meanwhile, senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Keshari Deb said allegations against the State government that it did not provide information on the issue can only be termed laughable. 

Notably, Odisha has been fighting with Chhatisgarh over sharing of Mahanadi water after Chhatisgarh constructed as many as seven barrages on the river.

Odisha Government claims that as much as 64 per cent of State’s population depend on Mahanadi for livelihood and it is Odisha’s life line.

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