Naveen has rejected Negotiation Committee due to vested political interest: BJP

Bhubaneswar: The BJP today came down heavily on the double standards of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Mahanadi issue.

Criticising the chief minister, who in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday had urged him to withdraw the formation of Negotiation Committee formed by the Water Resources ministry to resolve the Mahanadi issue, Pradhan said “As per Inter State Water Dispute Act, there is a right to form a tribunal. Let a tribunal be formed. But prior to formation of the tribunal, the Centre has gone a step forward with the formation of a Negotiation Committee to resolve Mahanadi issue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Sadly, the Odisha government is no mood to agree to the formation of the Committee,” Pradhan told media persons here.

He said he clearly understands the helplessness of the state government. “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked the state chief secretary to attend the meeting of the chief secretaries of Odisha and Chhattisgarh convened by the Water Resources ministry recently. Though the chief secretary agreed to the decisions taken at the meeting, he later changed his mind after talking to someone else.  Most probably he changed his mind after receiving instructions from one of the clerks of the Third Floor. Besides, the discussions between the chief ministers of these two states at the meeting which was presided over by Union Water Resources minister Uma Bharti are recorded and it will be brought out as a proof. Our chief minister, who had agreed to the proposal at the meeting, also changed his mind later at the instance of a bureaucrat,” Pradhan pointed out.

He said the chief minister has toured New Delhi ten times in last six months. But he has never taken up the matter with the Prime Minister. Rather, he is unnecessarily creating farce by using constitutional jargon only to safeguard his vested political interest.

Reacting to the statement of the Union Minister, BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy said Odisha should be entitled to get the volume of Mahanadi water as per its requirement. “If attempts are made to restrict the flow of Mahanadi water, we will continue our fight no matter how long it continues,” he maintained.

Talking about the Negotiation Committee, Satpathy said the Centre remained silent when there was a need for formation of this Committee. “There is no time to form this Committee. In fact we had told the Centre to form the Committee only after asking the Chhattisgarh government to stop its ongoing projects on Mahanadi. But the neighbouring state has continued its project work at a brisk pace. In these circumstances, attempts are being made to form the Negotiation Committee to delay the process for formation of a tribunal. This is the handiwork of those who do not want to safeguard the interest of Odisha,” the BJD leader observed.