Mahanadi row: Cong calls Odisha bandh on Aug 16

Bhubaneswar: Intensifying its protest on the Mahanadi issue, Congress on Friday announced that it would observe an Odisha bandh on August 16.

A decision in this regard was taken at an important meeting of senior party leaders chaired by Odisha Pradesh Congress President (OPCC) Prasad Harichandan at the party office here.

“Both Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments are responsible for the boiling controversy over Mahanadi river water. They have betrayed the people,” Harichandan said appealing people to make the bandh a success in the interest of Odisha.

Asking the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to intervene immediately in the matter, the OPCC chief said the Centre should instruct the Chhattisgarh government to stop construction of barrages and dams in the upper catchment areas of the river till the issue was resolved.

Hitting out at the Centre on the issue, both Harichandan and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Narasingha Mishra said its attitude and approach towards resolving the issue is a matter of concern for the state.

Describing Mahanadi river as the lifeline of Odisha, Harichandan said the Odisha government should also take necessary legal action for getting the issue resolved to safeguard the interest of the state.

While Chhattisgarh undertook unilateral construction of projects on the river, the ruling BJD in Odisha has been playing politics over the issue, putting the interest of the state in jeopardy, they said.

Flow of water in Mahanadi through Hirakud dam in Odisha would be severely affected if the ongoing projects on the upstream of the river in Chhattisgarh were allowed to be completed, said Mishra.

Irrigation and generation of power would be hit badly in the state if the river dries up, they added.