BJP to publish white paper on Mahanadi waters

Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday said it would release a white paper on Mahanadi water, the sharing of which has become a contentious issue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

Addressing a press meet here, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said; “Very soon, BJP will release a white paper on the status of water resources in Odisha, especially on the agreement, water usage and dispute on Mahanadi. Since the State government has all the figures on the river, it should have come up with the figures by now. But it is unfortunate that the ruling party is politicising the issue.”

Pradhan stressed that the Centre was aware of the current issue between the two States and it would solve the matter judiciously.

“Since the main issue is discontinuous flow of Mahanadi water in the downstream during the non-monsoon season, both the ministers have noted the point in the Parliament. The Centre is also very much aware of the rights of Odisha on usage of river water. I want to assure you that not a drop of Mahanadi water will be stopped from flowing into Odisha..Our government is committed to protect the interests of Odisha and no agreement is needed for this,” Pradhan stated.

On joint control board (JCB) proposed between the two States, the Union minister said the matter will be solved through a mutual consent.

In a scathing attack on Naveen Patnaik, Pradhan accused the CM of failing to proactively fight for the rights of Odisha.

“If he (Patnaik) was really interested in safeguarding the rights and caring for the emotions of Odisha, he would have convened an all-party meeting, which was finally initiated by the Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra. It is a pity that despite an invitation from Mishra, the Chief Minister didn’t bother to turn up at the meet,” the Union minister rued.

“It is never too late for an exemplary initiative on something in which interests of the State are involved. The CM must take the responsibility now,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, the ruling party said the neighbouring State must stop all ongoing constructions on the river.

“We want Chhattisgarh to stop construction work of the barrages immediately. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi is so worried about the issue, he must ask the Chhattisgarh government to put all ongoing water projects on hold and sit for a discussion,” Rajya Sabha MP Prasanna Acharya said.