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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Odisha unit of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) chief, Sameer Mohanty on Monday targeted the Chhattisgarh government over the Mahanadi water dispute and current floods in Odisha.

He also accused the Odisha government of soft-paddling the dispute thereby neglecting the interests of the people of Odisha who depend on the river for their livelihood.

Speaking to the press, Mohanty said, “When the Mahanadi in Odisha was completely dry in the summer due to barrages in Chhattisgarh, we had condemned the whimsical decision by the Chhattisharh government. Now we are criticising the neighbour state even more for recklessly opening all its barrages in full-scale manner wihout even coordinating with the government of Odisha which bears the brunt of frequent floods due to such mismanagement.”

“The Mahanadi issue should be resolved amicably by Chief Minister level meetings as soon as possible,” Mohanty said.

“We also urge the Water Resource department of Odisha government to alleviate the plight of Bargarh residents affected by the Hirakud dam backwaters,” he added.

Congress MLA Sura Routray said, "We had requested the Chhattisgarh government many times to judiciously share the water of Mahanadi in the summer which would have paved better cooperation for flood management in the monsoon. It is utter nonsense and we condemn such unilateral stand by the neighbouring state,” said Congress MLA Suresh Routray.

Asked about the issue, BJD MLA, Debi Prasad Mishra pushed the ball into Chhattisgarh’s court and said, “We had a tripartite meeting with the then Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti. But the agreement on the Mahanadi was not honored by the Chhattisgarh government later.”

“We urged them to halt the construction of barrages and maintain the status quo, but they did not pay heed to that request either,” alleged Mishra.

“But now is not the time to engage in dialogue when we have a flood situation to handle. Our primary focus is now to manage the flood water,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that the downstream areas of Mahanadi river including Sonepur, Cuttack and Boudh have begun to receive flood water after Chhattisgarh government opened up barrage gates filling up the Hirakud reservoir rapidly. As a result the Hirakud dam authorities have been forced to open the gates thereby bringing flooding to the low lying areas.

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