Bhubaneswar: Accusing the Odisha government of sleeping while Chhattisgarh obtained environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) for the Arpa-Bhaisajhar Barrage Project on May 8, 2015, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan today advised the government to form a joint regulatory board with the Chhattisgarh government on sharing of Mahanadi water.
The BJP leader attributed the current stand-off to the gross apathy of the state government in taking initiative for the formation of a joint regulatory board as per the pact signed between former Odisha chief minister JB Patnaik and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Arjun Singh way back in 1983 with the mediation of the Central Water Commission (CWC) for sharing of Mahanadi water.
“Considering that Odisha lies on the lower catchments of Mahanadi, formation of the joint regulatory board was the need of the hour for the state government. Due to the callousness of the state government, the state is now paying the price,” Pradhan said in a release.
While asking the state government to take immediate step for the formation of a joint regulatory board and seek the intervention of the CWC in the matter, the Union minister made it clear that under no circumstances should Odisha compromise with the Chhattisgarh government on this issue.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra today urged Chief Minister to urgently convene an all-party meeting to discuss the the situation arising out of unilateral construction by the Chhattisgarh government and appropriate steps needed to protect the interests of the state.