Mahanadi row: BJD fact finding team submits report to CM

Bhubaneswar: The BJD fact finding team, which had gone to Chhattisgarh recently for an on-the-spot study of the existing and upcoming projects in upper Mahanadi, submitted its report to chief minister Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas this afternoon.

Talking to media persons later, BJD Rajya Sabha member Prasanna Acharya, who had led the team to Chhattisgarh, said the team in its report has stated about how attempts are being made to deprive the legitimate rights of Odisha as a downstream state and the flagrant violation of rules of a federal system.

The report has also mentioned about the construction of projects under PPP mode by the Chhattisgrah government to provide water to the industries, construction of existing and ongoing projects without the prior approval of the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and consent of the Odisha government and hiding of information about the ongoing projects by the Chhattisgarh government.

“What we had observed during our visit to Chhattisgarh is that attempts are being made by the Centre, the Chhattisgarh government and the State BJP to deprive Odisha of its legitimate claim on Mahanadi waters”, Acharya pointed out.

“Our party committee that had gone to Chhattisgarh to check up the Hirakud water problem has presented me its report”, chief minister Naveen Patnaik told media persons here.

“We are happy that the Centre has called up the two states for a meeting. Though we don’t have any written documents of the Chhattisgarh government relating to Mahanadi, the chief minister has convened a high level meeting tomorrow to discuss about the information we have with us. Basing on the information, the chief minister will have a meeting with the Centre on September 17.

As per the information provided by RTI activist Hemant Panda, due to the construction of eight projects in upper Mahanadi, the water flow to Hirakud reservoir has been decreasing with alarming proportion in every five years. “Considering the inflow of water, people of Odisha would not get any water from Mahanadi as it will turn dry in the coming days ahead”, he added.

The BJP, on the other hand, has criticised the BJD government on this issue.

“The state government, which is not dedicated to the welfare of the farmers of the state, will resort to such nasty politics. Be it the Mahanadi issue or Polavaram issue, the sole aim of the BJD government is vote bank politics without making efforts for the development of the people and the state,” he noted.