Odisha govt least concerned about Mahanadi issue: Chhattisgarh minister

Bhubaneswar: During his Odisha visit, Chhattisgarh Health Minister T S Singh Deo on Monday accused the BJD-led government of neglecting Mahanadi river water dispute in last 19 years of its rule.

“The BJD has been in power for last 19 years, but in this period, it has not even bothered to look into the Mahanadi papers, so they should seek apology from the people of Odisha,” Singh Deo said while addressing a presser.

Singh Deo said that his government is ready to find a solution to the dispute through discussions, but alleged that instead of moving forward to resolve it, the Odisha government is raking up the issue to gain political mileage ahead of 2019 elections.

A team of Odisha Congress’ Manifesto Committee led by Odisha PCC chief Niranjan Patnaik and Singh Deo visited Jagatsinghpur yesterday to seek public opinion for preparation of poll manifesto for the upcoming 2019 elections.

“The BJD government is the creator of Mahanadi dispute. If the Supreme Court has urged both the Odisha and Chhatisgarh to solve the inter-state river water dispute through mutual dialogues, I do not know why the ruling-BJD is indifferent,” the OPCC chief said.

Odisha BJP too toed the line of Congress as party MLA Pradip Purohit said, “The Centre tried to resolve the issue twice through tripartite meeting after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought its intervention, but on both the occasions, instead of holding mutual discussions with the neighbouring State, the BJD government remained aloof. The apex court has also now reiterated the same. So now I want to ask the ruling-BJD as to whom will it blame now, PM Modi or Raman Singh.”

BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said, “The way the BJP-led government in the neighbouring State tried to intentionally delay in resolving the river dispute, the present Congress government is also following on the same path.”

The Supreme Court-appointed Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal comprising chairperson AM Khanwilkar, Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Indermit Kaur had directed both the Chhattisgarh and Odisha governments to find an amicable solution to the issue before it pronounces the judgement on March 9, 2019.