Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Congress legislature party met the President, Pranab Mukherjee today and urged him to ask the central government to stop all ongoing contentious projects on the upper catchment areas of Mahanadi River till the dispute between Chhattisgarh and Odisha is resolved.

Apprising the President that the Chhattisgarh government is illegally building barrages which would affect Odisha resulting in water scarcity, the Congress team led by Opposition leader Narsingh Mishra also asked the president to set up an inter-state water dispute tribunal for resolution of the dispute if a mutual understanding is not reached.

“We urged the president to recommend the Centre on how to stop all the projects which are being illegally undertaken on the upper catchments of Mahanadi. Moreover, we have asked the president to write a letter to the central government to set up an inter-state water dispute tribunal if the dispute remains unresolved through mutual discussions,” said Narsingh Mishra.

Reacting to the meeting of the Congress legislators with the President, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik soon after returning from New Delhi after his 6-day visit said the that the Opposition leader's allegations are baseless and the State government is taking necessary steps after legal consultations.

BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy also countered the Congress saying, "The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre could have intervened and stopped the projects which were approved by the CWC during its tenure,”

The Odisha BJP on the other hand made its stance clear on the Mahanadi dispute and said it is pledged to protect the State’s interest.

“Our party is committed to ensure that not an inch of Mahanadi water is reduced during the non-monsoon periods. In fact, the NDA government was the first to bring the issue to the State government’s notice. Now, the State government is doing all gimmicks to hide its incompetence,” said Odisha BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty.