Mahanadi row: C’garh dares Odisha, to go ahead with projects

Raipur/Bhubaneswar: Upping the ante on the construction of barrages on the upstream of Mahanadi, the Chhatisgarh government on Tuesday announced its decision to go ahead with the projects despite the stiff resistance put up by the Odisha government.

“Chhattisgarh is taking water after getting nod from the CWC. In fact, we have the right to take more water. Nobody can prevent us from going ahead with the construction. We are currently using only 25 percent of the water,” Chhatisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told reporters.

“This issue is being unnecessarily politicised. Our government started the construction of projects in the Mahanadi basin only after getting approval of CWC. When we have a discussion, we will ask for a greater share of water due to us, which we will use for irrigation and other purposes,” he added.

On the other hand, the ruling party in Odisha condemned Singh’s remark. “It is unfortunate. If all CMs talk like him, the country would be split,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.

On Tuesday, Union minister of state for Water Resources and River Development Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan had announced convening of a joint meeting between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on July 29 to discuss the sharing of Mahanadi water.

The announcement about the Centre-brokered meeting was made by the minister in the Lok Sabha in response to a calling attention motion moved by BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahatab.

Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Tuesday had asserted that the central government will not do anything or allow anything to happen that will hamper Odisha’s interests.

“Odisha is a beloved state of ours. We cannot do anything or allow anything to happen that will put the state into any crisis,” Bharti had told the Lok Sabha while replying to a motion moved by agitated members of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Calling for the minister’s “attention” to the impact of the Hirakud dam being constructed on the Mahanadi river by Chhattisgarh, BJD floor leader Bhartruhari Mahtab and his party colleagues, including Tathagatha Sathpathy and Kalikesh Singh Deo, wanted to know if Odisha was being discriminated against because it chose a “different socio-political path” and elected a regional party.