Bengaluru: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik does not want to create a bitter “India-Pakistan type conflict” between the state and Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi river water dispute, his Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said.
Patnaik was ready to discuss the issue with his Chhattisgarh counterpart during a meeting convened by Union Water resources Minister Uma Bharati in New Delhi, but not before Odisha has all information on the projects taken up by Chhattisgarh to make the talks fruitful, Mishra added.
“Naveen Babu (Patnaik) is firm in fighting for the state, but he does not want to create India-Pakistan type dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi river water dispute,” he told PTI here.
“We must have all information on the projects taken up by Chhattisgarh before both Chief Ministers — Patnaik and Raman Singh — meet for discussion in Uma Bharati’s presence in Delhi.
“If we don’t get these details, how can we know under what contents (should we be deliberating upon) and what they intend to do,” Mishra added.
The minister was responding to a query whether Patnaik was keen on attending the meeting convened by Uma Bharati in Delhi between September 10 to 20.
Mishra, in the city to attend investors meet inaugurated by Patnaik yesterday, is a part of state panel overseeing matters concerning Mahanadi river water dispute.
Odisha has been raising its voice against Chhattisgarh government’s plans to build 13 barrages across the Mahanadi, in a plan to extract more water.
The neighbouring state also has been constructing seven pick up weirs (small dams) across the river, a move facing vehement opposition from Patnaik.
Patnaik has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention as he fears such constructions would adversely affect the farmers of Odisha.
Asked about the Congress blaming BJD government for “sleeping” over the issue for over a decade, Mishra blamed the Congress’ “inaction” as they were at the helm of affairs longer than any other party in the state.
“BJP was our partner from 2000 to 2009. The Congress has ruled the state more than us. My question is why they did not implement the constitutional provisions under the 1983 agreement between then Chief Minister of erstwhile undivided state Madhya Pradesh Arjun Singh and then Odisha Chief Minister G B Patnaik in April, 1983,” he said.
Mishra appealed to both Congress and BJP to rise above petty politics on this matter.
Replying to a query, Mishra also rejected the charge that it was a ploy by the BJD government to rake up the issue with an eye to capture votes in panchayat elections scheduled for February next.
“There is no ploy to take this matter up only for gaining votes. By the grace of Lord Jagannath and goodwill of the people, we have won successfully four general elections besides winning corporation, panchayat and municipality elections. So, why should we be apprehensive? We have the mandate and faith of the people in us,” he said.