BJD pulls up Chhattisgarh, Centre on MoEF letter on Mahanadi dispute

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Bhubaneswar: Adding to the ongoing Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today once again pulled up both the Centre and Chhattisgarh government citing a letter of Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) which had slapped a show cause notice on the neighbouring State over violation of environmental norms.

Quoting the letter of September 20 last year, BJD MP Pinaki Mishra alleged at a presser that the neighbouring State grossly violated the green norms by supplying water to the industries in the name of irrigation.

The Ministry, which asked the Environment Impact Assessment Authority of Chhattisgarh to reply on the actions taken by it for such illegality, also sought a clarification on why the Ministry and Odisha government were kept in dark about the construction of six projetcs in the upstream of Mahanadi river, the MP maintained.

It was also mentioned in the letter that data related to displacement and submergence were kept confidential during construction of these barrages, the MP further alleged.

“The Central government, by allowing these projects to go ahead, has been party to fraud and illegality. We will soon place this document before National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court”, Mishra said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, at an event organised by a national newspaper recently, reiterated the State’s demand for a tribunal which can resolve the dispute. “When we asked to stop construction of barrages, the then Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said that the Centre has no power to do so. Hence, a tribunal is the only way out,” Patnaik said.

BJP, on the other hand,  asked the State government to clarify the quantity of water being provided to industries from Hirakud and Samal dams. “The State government should clarify first the quantity of water being given to industrial units from Hirakud and Samal. It is only making the Mahanadi issue more problematic instead of finding a way out,” BJP State vice president Sameer Mohanty said.

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