Cassian Baliarsingh

At a time when Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments are already at loggerheads over the Mahanadi water, the ‘Waterman of India’ and award-winning Indian water conservationist and environmentalist Rajendra Singh on Sunday warned that the Mahanadi Tribunal is taking the path of Cauvery river water dispute and is further escalating tension between the two states.

He called out Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel to sit down together and come to a conclusion before things go out of hand.

Speaking to OTV, Rajendra Singh said, “Mahanadi is in big problem. This problem can only be solved if Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel sit down together and come up with a solution.” 

“The Tribunal can never come up with a solution until these two CMs discuss and agree on something. When the Mahanadi Tribunal was formed, I was the first time to point out that the Tribunal will make the issue like Cauvery River dispute. And that is what exactly is happening. The Mahanadi water dispute is also taking the same path as Cauvery,” he added.

However, the award-winning Indian water conservationist and environmentalist from Alwar district, Rajasthan, warned that there was still time and the governments of both states must reach an amicable conclusion.

“Still there is time. I know CM Naveen Patnaik is a very mature and good-natured man. Baghel also is a good man. So, I suggest that these two good men should unite together and come up with a solution that is good for both states because this Tribunal will continue for another 5-10 years and there will be no solution. Then people of Chhattisgarh will think that Odisha has stopped water while Odisha people will think the same for Chhattisgarh. This will only create disturbance and tension between the two states,” he further stated.

Worth mentioning, Rajendra Singh, who is known as the ‘Waterman of India’ has won the Magsaysay Award in 2001 and Stockholm Water Prize in 2015. He runs an NGO called ‘Tarun Bharat Sangh’.

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