BJD sought diversion of ‘surplus’ Mahanadi water: Jual Oram

Bhubaneswar: Slamming the State government on the Mahanadi issue, Union Tribal affairs minister Jual Oram said that the BJD-led government, which is now arguing about water deficit in Mahanadi basin, had itself sought diversion of ‘surplus’ Mahanadi water to Rushikulya basin.

Producing a letter sent by 10 BJD MPs to the Union Water Resources minister, Oram said that they had claimed there was surplus water in Mahanadi basin and had urged diversion of the surplus water to the deficit-ridden Rushikulya basin. The BJD MPs in their letter had mentioned that around 20 BCM (Billion Cubic Meter) surplus water in Mahanadi is drained into the sea. Claiming that the BJD was a divided house on the Mahanadi issue within the BJD, he sought a clarification from the State government on the contradictory views of the party and its MPs.

The Union minister alleged that the State government is raking up the issue solely to divert attention from Kandhamal killings and malnutrition deaths in Nagada.

“While on one hand the party is saying that 20 BCM surplus water is drained into the sea, on the other hand the party is trying to mislead the people of Odisha and unnecessarily creating a row over the Mahanadi issue. The BJD’s incompetence in protecting the interest of Odisha is now exposed and that is the reason why it is politicizing the issue,” said Oram.

Responding to allegations made by Jual Oram, BJD MP and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources Siddhanth Mohapatra said that the party had sought diversion of the Mahanadi water only during monsoon to provide water for irrigation and drinking water projects in South Odisha. Hence there is no connection between the Oram’s allegations and the issue at hand, the Berhampur MP said.

“We had given a proposal that if the surplus water is diverted to Southern Odisha then it will solve the issues of irrigation and drinking water problem,” said Sidddhanth Mohapatra.