Bhubaneswar: Coming down heavily on the State Government over the Mahanadi issue, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has misled the media on formation of an expert panel mooted by the Centre to look into the matter.
He alleged that the Odisha Government had demanded formation of an expert committee led by a retired Judge and the Centre had also agreed on the proposal. But the Chief Minister gave wrong information to the media after coming back to Odisha. The minister further said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aware of everything regarding the issue and the BJP has no objection in taking up the Mahanadi row with him.
“The Odisha Government is only indulged in tall talks while shying away from its core responsibilities. The Mahanadi row can only be resolved if there is a combined meeting on the issue,” Pradhan said. Hinting at the Chief Minister, he said discharging symbolic responsibility is against the interests of the people of the State.
Reacting to Pradhan’s statement, BJD Spokesperson Amar Satpathy said, “If the Prime Minister was aware of everything, how did the Central Water Commission (CWC) approve the projects on the Mahanadi without consulting Odisha? What kind of system is this?”
He further said the Chief Minister had written a letter to the Prime Minister in this regard but no step has been taken yet. “At the tripartite meeting, the Chief Minister had a condition that the construction work on the river be halted for the time being and let an expert committee visit the site first. Then further course of action will be decided on the basis of the findings," Satpathy said, while dismissing the allegations of the Union Minister as baseless.