Govt doing petty politics on Mahanadi: Congress

Bhubaneswar: The Congress today alleged that the Odisha government is doing petty politics on the Mahanadi issue.

Briefing media persons here today, leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra said all political parties in Odisha, except the ruling BJD, are strongly opposed to the construction of projects in the upper reaches of Mahanadi by the Chhattisgarh government. They want that there should not be any obstruction in the flow of Mahanadi water to the Hirakud reservoir.

The LoP alleged that six barrages being constructed in the upstream of Mahanadi are meant for the use of industries, which have funded the construction of these projects.

“These industrialists, with whose financial assistance these six projects have been constructed, have also set up their industries in Odisha. It is apparent that the Odisha government had remained silent to the construction of these projects to safeguard the interests of these industrialists,” Mishra argued.

Apart from Mahanadi, construction of some projects has started in the tributaries of Mahanadi while some have already been completed, he said.

Taking a dig at the double standards of the chief minister, Mishra said during an adjournment motion on April 10, 2001 in the State Assembly, the then MLA Late Ashok Das had sought a reply from the chief minister on the unilateral construction of projects by the Chhattisgarh government on upper Mahanadi.

“In his reply, the chief minister had said the state government is aware of construction of such projects and it will not allow the Chhattisgarh government to go ahead with these projects. He had also informed the House that he would take up the matter with Union Water Resources minister. While the chief minister had given these statements in the State Assembly way back in 2001, he, along with the chief secretary and the Water Resources secretary, are now saying that they had no knowledge about these projects. Is it not obvious that they are trying to mislead the people of the state by giving them wrong information?” Mishra asked.

Refuting the statement of Mishra, BJD vice president Surya Narayan Patro said the Congress is now on the back foot.

“The Congress is divided over the Mahanadi issue. The people of Odisha are aware of the anti-state policy of the Congress-led UPA government, which had allowed the construction of Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh and given permission to the Chhattisgarh government for construction of dams and barrages on upper catchments of Mahanadi,” Patra told media persons here.

Claiming that the BJD government is opposed to all the projects on upper Mahanadi, the former minister said the small barrages built by the Chhattisgarh government will have no impact on Odisha.