Bhubaneswar: Opposition BJP and Congress MLAs strongly criticized the State Government over River Mahanadi water dispute in Odisha legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra (BJP) raised the issue during zero hour and said two House committees were formed under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister and the Speaker to discuss the Mahanadi water dispute. However, no one knows what happened to these panels.
“Whether any meeting of the panels was held or not? Whether they have submitted any report or not?” Shri Mishra asked.
He wanted to know how much money was spent on the five-member legal committee formed to fight for Mahanadi water in the tribunal.
“Let the Water Resources Minister make a detailed statement in the House on this issue,” demanded the Leader of Opposition.
Joining the BJP leader, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said, “Though two committees were formed to discuss the Mahanadi issue, not a single meeting of the panels was held till now. This shows how serious the state government is on the issue.”
“I have moved a motion for special discussion on the Mahanadi water dispute, which the Speaker has agreed to allow after passing of the Appropriation Bill,” the Congress leader said.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is scheduled to visit Japan on April 3, should postpone the visit and take part in the important discussion, he said.
Union Minister of State for Water Resources also belongs to Odisha. He could have intervened in the matter, but he is yet to do so, Shri Mishra said.
The issue was raised ahead of the field visit of the Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal.
Notably, the Odisha Government has locked horns with Chhattisgarh in 2016 after water flow in the River Mahanadi reduced substantially following construction of dams and barrages by the Chhattisgarh government.
On November 19, 2016, Odisha had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Water Resources under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act 1956. A meeting between the two states at CM-level was held but no conclusion arrived.
The Union Government has subsequently notified the formation of the Mahanadi River Dispute Tribunal on March 12, 2018. Since then, the Tribunal’s tenure has been extended including the latest till December 24, 2024.