Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra today said his party leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan should refrain from giving varied opinions on Mahanadi issue.

“The Union minister should refrain from giving different statements on Mahanadi issue at different places,” he told media persons here.

Asked about the inaction of the state government in expediting the matter with the Centre on Mahanadi issue, Mohapatra said the state government had filed a suit in the Supreme Court on December 2 last year seeking injunction against Chhattisgarh government over construction of barrages on the upper catchment of Mahanadi. The state should pursue the matter accordingly so that the apex court will have a hearing on this matter. Unless there is a hearing, the Chhattisgarh government would continue the construction work of the projects on Mahanadi. The work will not stop unless the apex court issues injunction.

To another question on whether intervention of the Prime Minister could solve the issue, Mohapatra said there is some of possibility of a solution. But it all depends on Chhattisgarh government which is no mood to relent. As I have already said if the neighbouring state continues its construction work, situation in the upper and lower catchments of Mahanadi in Odisha would be disastrous by March. I cannot understand why everyone is trying to play the Mahanadi game. All have vested interest for their own political gain. No one is concerned over the larger interest of Odisha.

He also said since the Odisha government has filed a petition for formation of a tribunal, the Centre, instead of keeping the ball in its court, should take necessary steps for its formation. Instead of doing, it has formed a Negotiation Committee which is nothing but a gimmick.

Supporting the contention of Mohapatra, Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said what the former has said about Dharmendra Pradhan is true.

The Union minister is used to give different statements after his return from Delhi. If he and his party ignore Mohapatra’s statement, it would be a colossal loss for Odisha. The Union minister should give his statement in favour of Odisha,” he pointed out.

He, however, said both the BJD and BJP have made the Mahanadi water muddy. “They will try to rake up the issue till the panchayat polls are over. Barring Mahanadi, the BJD supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik has no other issue,” he pointed out.

Asked about the BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra who has criticised his party leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan for his varying statements on Mahanadi issue, the Congress leader said the BJD and BJP had ruled Odisha for nine years and during this period, the Chhattisgarh government had started construction of projects on upper Mahanadi. “What these two ruling parties were doing at that time? Bahinipati asked.

He said the Centre should take necessary step to set up an inter-state tribunal to resolve the ongoing row between Odisha and Chhattisgarh and the matter should be settled by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).