Vikash Sharma

Ahead of the field visit of the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said river Mahanadi originated from Chhattisgarh and as the entire water goes to Odisha, the matter should not have gone to the Tribunal.

“There is no dam here in Chhattisgarh; the controversy is over the seven barrages. As the matter went to the tribunal, we have stopped our high dam and barrage proposals. We think that we should get permission for the same as the entire water is going to Odisha,” said the Chhattisgarh CM.

Speaking on the Mahanadi water dispute, Union Jal Shakti Minister (State) Bishweswar Tudu said that Centre’s permission is not needed for construction of barrages, as built by Chhattisgarh, to irrigate 2000 hectares of land. “The Odisha government could have constructed small barrages on Mahanadi, if they had wanted. Now as the election is round the corner, the state government is only doing drama.”

Tudu also said that permission was granted till 2024 so that the matter could be decided at the earliest. But an extension was sought till 2026, said the Union Minister questioning the motive behind it. 

“It is now almost one and half years that I am a minister, but they (Odisha government) have not discussed it with me. There were a lot of issues, be it Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur or Puri’s Kanasa where the matters were pending for the last 70 years, all those were resolved,” said Tudu.

Senior BJD leader, Prasanna Acharya said, “BJD and Odisha government is extending all cooperation to the Tribunal. Whatever facts are being sought, we are providing, and we are ready to provide whatever is required.”

According to Acharya, there has been gross negligence towards Odisha over the Mahanadi issue. “Our CM had brought the matter to the notice of the Centre, Central Water Commission, and Chhattisgarh government, but nothing happened,” he alleged.

“We are hopeful that the Tribunal will give its judgment; and whatever information will be sought, we will provide. We only want the Tribunal to expedite the matter and give justice to Odisha,” Acharya added.

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