Mahanadi water issue raised to divert attention: Raman Singh

Bhubaneswar: Chhattishgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh today said attempts are being made in Odisha to divert public attention from the core issues under the pretext of Mahanadi water dispute.

“People of Odisha wanted answers on growing unemployment, migration, hunger deaths, poor health facilities and others. Unable to reply to the people, attempts are made to raise Mahanadi water issue in order to divert attention,” Singh told a public rally in support of BJP candidates at Lathikata in Sundergarh district.

The Chhattishgarh Chief Minister, who addressed his fifth election rally during his campaigning for BJP candidates in the panchayat polls, claimed that there was no dispute between his state and Odisha over Mahanadi river.

“We use only 4 per cent of the Mahanadi water while Odisha uses 14 per cent of water. Remaining 82 per cent drains down to sea. Instead of utilising the water going to waste, the Odisha government has been raising voice,” Singh said.

He claimed that Mahanadi flows 350 kilometres in Chhattishgarh and they use only 4 per cent of water.

“Hirakud reservoir could be filled four times if the state government tries to utilise the water going to sea,” Singh said adding that the ruling BJD raised the Mahanadi water issue keeping an eye on the ongoing panchayat elections.

He said the misunderstanding could be solved if the chief ministers of both the states discuss on the matter.

While highlighting his government’s success, Singh said: “If the Chhattishgarh government can provide agriculture loan to farmers at the zero interest rate, why can’t Odisha government.”

Singh claimed that his BJP government has been able to resolve the issues hitting the people in Chhattishgarh.

“Chhattishgarh is now a migration free state,” he said.

Singh said that Chhattishgarh has tribal and dalit population at 44 per cent and his government has made schemes for welfare of farmers, youths, girl child, women and elders which can also be implemented in Odisha.

“However, one require desire to develop. The schemes cannot be successfully implemented unless there is a strong will to progress,” Singh said.

Seeking votes for the BJP candidates in the fray, Singh said the ongoing panchayat elections will be the basis for the next general elections in 2019. He assured the gathering that they too can avail the facilities being given to people in Chhattishgarh, if they bring BJP to power. “I can see a change of mood among the people in Odisha,” he said

On the other hand, BJD continued its protest against Singh’s visit and staged demonstrations at Nuapara and Sunderagarh. Labeling the Chhattisgarh CM as Odisha’s enemy, BJD activists demonstrations wearing black badges in front of the Sundergarh district collector’s office.

The manner in which the Chhattisgarh CM’s visit has insulted the people of Odisha a befitting reply will given by the public in the Panchayat Polls,” said BJD spokesperson, Sashibhushan Behera.