No letters received from Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi project: Chief Secy

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today clarified that it was not informed about the Kelo project and no letter to that effect was ever received from the Chhattisgarh government.

The state government also slammed the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Chhattisgarh government for not inviting Odisha to the meeting when the approval was accorded to the Kelo project.

Addressing a press meet on the issue, Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said; “We want to clarify that Odisha government has not received any letter from the Chhattisgarh government contrary to media reports, which showed two letters were received from the chief engineer and the water resources secretary of Chhattisgarh in July and September 2008. Moreover, in January 2009, there was a meeting of the Central Water Commission (CWC), in which the Kelo project on Mahanadi was cleared. The documents that we have obtained clearly show that Odisha was not invited to the meeting. Even after the clearance of the project, Odisha was not informed about it. It is clear that the the the Kelo project was approved behind our backs. The CWC has also cleared the project without consulting us. As a co-basin state, Odisha has the absolute right to be consulted before clearing such a project.”

The chief secretary further stated, “It is clearly visible the clearance for the Kelo project was taken behind our backs.”

Hinting at approaching the appropriate forum on the issue, Padhi added, “During the non-monsoon period if the water level that we want to maintain will be less, Odisha will be adversely affected and we will not tolerate that. After getting the information from Chhattisgarh, we will certainly approach the appropriate forum to get the projects stopped or justice.”

Odisha Water Resources Secretary Pradip Jena, who was present at the press briefing, said, “Out of seven projects in Arpa of Chhattisgarh, we have got the detailed project report of one project only in April. Regarding this, we have given our comments. Neither we have DPRs of three completed projects nor the three proposed projects in Chhattisgarh. It is really impossible to assess the combined impact of the projects without information.”

Meanwhile, BJD MP Prabhas Singh today moved third privilege motion against Union Minister for State of Water Resources Sanjeev Balyan alleging the Union minister presented false information the Parliament.

Singh said, “Today also I brought privilege notice against Balyan on the ground of presenting false information in the Parliament on July 26.”

On the other hand, Brijmohan Agarwal, Water Resources Minister, Chhattisgarh, said, “We can say that we have sent the letters to Odisha and have also the receipt. There is no issue now. Now it is decided to form a board as per the 1983 agreement between the two states. We will sit together and discuss. There is no point of talking on media on the matter.”