Mahanadi row: Janata Congress to oppose BJD team’s visit to Chhattisgarh

Raipur/Bhubaneswar: A day ahead of the visit of a 12-member BJD team to Chhattisgarh for an on the spot verification of under construction projects on Mahanadi river, Janata Congress chief and ex-chief minister of the neighbouring state Ajit Jogi today said it would oppose the tour of the Odisha ruling party leaders in a peaceful manner.

Jogi questioned how permission was given by the Chhattisgarh government to the BJD team for verification of the projects.

Talking to newsmen here, Jogi said, “We will oppose the visit in a peaceful manner and as per Gandhian ideology.”

On the other hand, lambasting the Odisha government for raking up the Mahanadi water issue, Chhattisgarh Water Resources minister Brijmohan Agarwal said, “While 80% of the Mahanadi river water goes into the sea, Odisha and Chhattisgarh are utilizing only 20% of water. Even 50 years after the construction of the Hirakud dam in Odisha, they have not built any other structure yet.” He, however, said the BJD team will get all the details about the ongoing projects during its meeting with the officials, including the chief engineer.

Elaborating on the plans for the team’s visit to the neighbouring state, Prasanna Acharya, BJD MP and the leader of the delegation, said, “We will see the Kelo project and will talk to the authorities at Raigarh and later go to Bilaspur to talks to the State officials. We will also visit as many of the seven projects under construction in the neighbouring state as possible.”

Meanwhile, the verbal duel between the BJD and BJP continued over the Mahanadi issue today. BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb demanded that Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan should meet the Prime Minister and raise the matter before him.

Deb added, “The Union minister should participate in the discussion in the Parliament while the issue is being raised. Whenever something happens in the state, the Union minister sends a Central team immediately. But in this case why is Pradhan not lodging a complaint with the Chhattisgarh government and asking them to stop the projects?”

Refuting the BJD charge, Pradip Purohit, BJP MLA, said, “I want to ask the BJD to whom they will submit the report after the on the spot verification? Besides, what is the authenticity of the report? The ruling party is only trying to politicise the Mahanadi water issue.”