Mahanadi dispute: Row between Odisha, Chhattisgarh intensifies

Bhubaneswar: Odisha on Monday strongly opposed illegal construction of barrages by neighbouring Chhattisgarh government during the Regional Conference of Eastern States on Water Resources convened by the Central government at Kolkata.

At the meeting held under the chairmanship of Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Odisha’s Food and Consumer Welfare Minister Surya Narayan Patro alleged that Chhattisgarh government is trying to stop Mahanadi water by constructing barrages and number of projects.

“We have raised the issue of barrage construction on Mahanadi by Chhattisgarh,” said Patro.

Patro also accused Chhattisgarh of violating NGT order as it has floated a tender for construction of Sirpur-Mohamela barrage.

The State also demanded the Centre to share the Terms of Reference (ToR) for Mahanadi Tribunal, informed sources.

The Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Arjun Ram Meghwal had convened the meeting with the ministers and high-level officials of five eastern states – West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

At present, there are separate tribunals for the Cauvery, the Narmada, the Krishna and other rivers existing in the country and the formation of the Mahanadi tribunal is in progress, he said.

“Instead of having so many tribunals, a single national tribunal has been proposed in the Interstate River Disputes Act Amendment Bill, 2017 which has already been placed in the Lok Sabha,” he added.

Chhattisgarh’s Water Resources Minister, Brijmohan Agarwal on the other hand raised the issue of Indirabati barrage constructed by Odisha and alleged that it is being deprived of water from the dam.

Apart from Mahanadi, Odisha also objected arbitrary construction of barrages and dams upstream of river Brahmani’s two tributaries Shankh and South Koel by Jharkhand.

Earlier in the day, Odisha Water Resources Minister Niranjan Pujari, in reply to a question of BJP MLA Dilip Ray in the Odisha Assembly, said Chhattisgarh has constructed over 1000 small irrigation, eight mega, 29 medium projects and 371 anicuts upstream Mahanadi.

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