Bhubaneswar: Governing Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday highly criticized BJP and Congress for shedding crocodile tears on the Mahanadi water dispute.
BJD Spokesperson Shreemayee Mishra in a Media Meet said, “Mahanadi is the lifeline of Odisha with crores of farmers and fishermen of Odisha dependent on it for their lives and livelihood. Mahanadi flows across half the districts of Odisha impacting about 2.5 crore people of Odisha.
The history of Odisha and Mahanadi are inter-linked. The prosperity of Odisha is also directly-linked to the prosperity of Mahanadi. Mahanadi is not only considered a river in Odisha, but it is considered as one of the major elements of Odisha’s growth and progress, she said.
From agriculture, social life and industry, cities and towns grew up around the river Mahanadi. Communities and social fabric of Odisha is woven around the flow of Mahanadi. This river is not only confined to being a river, it is associated with the Asmita, the heritage and the rich legacy of Odisha and 4.5 crore Odias, she said.
It was found in 2017 that Chattisgarh was constructing illegal barrages on the upstream of river Mahanadi. The BJD-run Odisha Government than demanded that Chattisgarh stop this illegal activity which it did not stop, Mishra said.
The BJD leader said the BJD-run Odisha Government forced the Centre to intervene and hold a tripartite meeting in Delhi with Centre along with Chattisgarh Government to resolve this matter.
“When Odisha Government wanted Centre to intervene in this matter, an Odia Union Minister instead of standing for the interests of people of Odisha on Mahanadi, rather supported Chattisgarh and tried to pressurize Odisha Government in vain to cooperate with Chattisgarh,” alleged another BJD leader Swayam Prakash Mahapatra.
The Odisha Government then went to the Supreme Court and demanded that the work on these illegal barrages on Mahanadi in Chattisgarh be stopped but the Odisha BJP led party in Centre instead of supporting Odisha, opposed its contention and rather supported Chattisgarh, he said.
Finally, due to the Odisha Government’s intervention in the Supreme Court, Shri Mahapatra said, the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal was constituted in 2018 for adjudication under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
While the Odisha Government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been fighting strenuously for Mahanadi and the people of Odisha, the Odisha BJP leaders were mute spectators and did not have the courage to speak up against their party-run Chattisgarh Government, alleged the BJD leaders.
Despite five years having passed since the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal was formed in 2018, there is no progress, they pointed out.
Shri Mahapatra said, “The Odisha Government has been consistently demanding for early resolution in the interests of 4.5 crore people of Odisha. However, the Odisha BJP leaders are not bothered at all about Mahanadi water flow and the adverse impact it has on the people of Odisha.”
Slamming the Congress over the issue, the BJD leader said, “Today, Chattisgarh is governed by the Congress party. The Odisha Congress leaders who in earlier years used to raise slogans on Mahanadi against BJP-led Chattisgarh have now gone conveniently silent. Their silence shows that for the Odisha BJP, it is party first and mati (mother land) last.”
The BJD urged the Odisha Congress leaders to seek the intervention of their party in Delhi and Chattisgarh and demand that Chattisgarh stop these illegal activities on the upstream of Mahanadi river.
Alleging both the Congress and the BJP are two sides of the same coin, Mishra said, “Both are doing drama before the people of Odisha that they are for their welfare but are working against the interests of the people of Odisha. The Mahanadi issue has exposed their intentions.”
It is shocking and extremely unfortunate that not even once have the Odisha BJP and Odisha Congress leaders asked their respective parties to intervene in this matter at Chattisgarh and Centre level respectively, in the greater interests of river Mahanadi and the flow of its water which affects crores of Odias. This exposes the Odisha BJP’s and Odisha Congress’s double standards, she added.
“On one hand they are shedding crocodile tears for the people of Odisha and on the other hand, they are silently supporting Chattisgarh,” said Shri Mahapatra.
Strongly condemning such anti-Odisha, anti-Odia, anti-people attitude of the Odisha BJP and Odisha Congress, the Governing party urged the Opposition parties that they demand with their party-run Centre to intervene immediately in this matter and resolve the Mahanadi issue.
If the Odisha BJP and Odisha Congress still continues to be silent and a mute spectator in the Mahanadi river water dispute, then it will be well known to the people of Odisha that all these crocodile tears of Odisha BJP and Odisha Congress are meant only for cheap politics and not for the welfare of the people of Odisha, they said.