State govt rejects Centre’s proposal to set up committee on Mahanadi

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said the Centre has proposed to set up an expert committee to look into the Mahanadi water issue but the state government rejected it as it did not stop construction on the river in Chhattisgarh.

Two-days ago the state government received a letter from the Union Water Resources Ministry stating about setting up of an expert committee to look into the Mahanadi issue without instructing Chhattisgarh to stop construction, Patnaik said in the Assembly.

“We have rejected the proposal of the expert committee as it does not stop construction by Chhattisgarh government and the helpless Union Government,” Patnaik said as treasury bench members hailed the decision.

Such panels will not protect the interest of Odisha and therefore there was no meaning of sending a representative to the expert committee, Patnaik said in a reply to the two-day debate on the Mahanadi water dispute issue in the Assembly.

The Chief Minister lambasted the previous UPA government and the present NDA regime at the Centre. “The Congress-led government at the centre and the BJP-led government at the Centre, both have supported Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi issue and Andhra on Polavaram issue. My government will take every possible step and leave no-stone unturned for the interest of Odisha”, Patnaik told media persons outside the Assembly.

Both Congress and BJP reacted sharply to the chief minister’s statement terming it grossly ‘unfortunate’.

“The chief minister’s statement is unfortunate and we condemn it. He has not expressed his views as a leader of the House or the Chief Minister of Odisha. He has done whatever needed of him as a leader of his party. He has exposed his shallow politics in the Assembly”, Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said.

Similarly, BJP MLA Pradip Purohit said the chief minister’s voice clearly shows his frustration. “His statement is unfortunate. There was nothing new in his speech, but politics. He did not move a single proposal on Mahanadi issue in the Assembly”, Purohit added.

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