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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra today blasted the Centre claiming that it has colluded with the Chhattisgarh government on the Mahanadi water dispute while working against the interest of Odisha.

Mohapatra told mediapersons, “The Centre’s rejection for formation of a tribunal on Mahanadi issue in an affidavit before the Supreme Court is against the interest of the State’s people. The move has damaged people’s self-esteem.”

If the Union Water Resources Ministry had so many questions to raise as stated in the SC affidavit, it could have asked the Odisha government about the same earlier, stated Mohapatra.

“As water level in Mahanadi has already gone down, 16 affected districts of the State will take extreme steps in coming days,” he said, adding that the Centre will be dragged to the court over tribunal formation.

Meanwhile, BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan slammed Mohapatra and said he has joined the 'drama' started by Naveen Patnaik on Mahanadi.

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Harichandan further stated Mohapatra is known for illogical and disgusting remarks. “The party is seriously thinking about Bijay Mohapatra,” he mentioned.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said "

Some people are spreading disinformation claiming that the Centre has refused to set up the tribunal, either due to their ignorance or for political purpose, Dharmendra, also a BJP leader said.

"The Centre in its recent affidavit to the Supreme Court has never refused to form tribunal to resolve Mahanadi river water issue," the Petroleum Minister told reporters.

 

Pradhan said the Centre was in the process of finalising a law to constitute a composite tribunal which would deal with all inter-state river water disputes in the country.

The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2017 has already been introduced in Lok Sabha for the purpose.

The new mechanism would ensure that river water disputes are resolved in a time-bound manner in three years, Pradhan said.

BJD said the Centre is giving time to Chhattisgarh so that the neighbouring State can expedite its project works. "Rejecting Odisha's demand to constitute a tribunal is a clear violation of constitutional guidelines. The single tribunal what is being said by Centre is a move of consume more time," BJD MP Prasanna Acharya said.

Earlier, the Centre had submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court contending that there is no need to constitute a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi river water dispute as the Odisha government did not provide any data or adduce any evidence in support of its stand.

On Friday, Odisha government filed a counter affidavit in Supreme Court accusing the Centre of providing misleading information on the ongoing Mahanadi water dispute with Chhattisgarh.

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In its 60-page affidavit, Odisha government has maintained that the Centre had earlier committed that a decision on setting up a Tribunal would be taken before November 19 but failed to do so thereby violating the provisions of inter-State water disputes act.

Odisha had moved the Supreme Court on the issue and in the last hearing held on October 9, the counsel for Government of India had committed that a decision on the tribunal would be taken before November 19, 2017. The next hearing is slated for December 11.

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