Mahanadi row: Odisha seeks complete info on Arpa-Bhaisajhar project

Bhubaneswar: Though the Chhattisgarh government, has of late started the process of sharing information on the projects undertaken by it in the upper reaches of Mahanadi, the Odisha government has sought complete information about all the ongoing and proposed projects as the information it has received so far is incomplete.

“Since the information the Chhattisgarh government has given on Arpa-Bhaisajhar project is incomplete, the Engineer-In-Chief (EIC) has written a letter to his Chhattisgarh counterpart today stating that the information is haphazard and incomplete. In the letter, the state government has asked the Chhattisgarh government to furnish complete information on the said project. At the same time, we have today provided the information the neighbouring state had sought during a meeting in Delhi on July 29,” Water Resources secretary Pradip Jena told media persons here today.

In spite of the exchange of information between the two states, the war of words between the ruling BJD and the Opposition still persists, particularly on Arpa-Bhaisajhar project.

The state government and the ruling BJD are tight-lipped as the assertion of the former that it had no knowledge about the upcoming Arpa-Bhaisajhar project has been exposed as a lie after the media dug out a series of letters exchanged between the two states recently. From these letters, it is clearly evident that the state government was fully aware of the said project as the Chhattisgarh had sent the detailed project report (DPR) in July 2015 which was acknowledged by the state government in a letter barely a month after on August 26 in the same year.

“I don’t want to prolong the ongoing row. The Odisha government has not provided information sought by the Chhattisgarh government. If the state government prolongs the dispute with the neighbouring state, the people of Odisha would suffer heavily. Enough is enough. The Chhattisgarh government is bound to give information which is sought by the state government and vice versa”, senior BJP leader and Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan told media persons today.

Asked about the matter, senior BJD leader and minister Debi Prasad Mishra claimed that the state government has never given its consent to the Chhattisgarh government to go ahead with the Arpa project and has actually opposed it tooth and nail.

“The Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Sanjeev Balyan had admitted as much in the Parliament. He should now take steps by asking the Chhattisgarh government to put the construction work of these projects on hold,” Mishra said.

He said if the Chhattisgarh government has responded positively, it is most welcome. “If it provides us the information about all the projects, we can do a proper assessment and will act accordingly, he added.