Odisha CM should pay back people by ensuring water: Uma Bharti

New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik must be “grateful” to people who elected him despite water woes in parts of the state, Union Minister Uma Bharti said today and asked him to “pay them back” ensuring water availability by co-operating with the Centre on a river- linking project.

Bharti made the remarks while urging Patnaik to let the Centre conduct initial studies on the project involving Mahanadi, which flows through the state.

“I really feel sorry for the state. It is such a good state. The people there are so nice. There is so much of water, but still some people of the state have to face trouble (water shortage).

“Patnaik must be grateful to the people of the state. They have been voting for him and his family for years. He must pay back by ensuring food, jobs and water for people,” she told reporters here.

Bharti said the Centre has a “complete offer ready” to address water concerns of Odisha and urged the Chief Minister to give nod to the initial studies on river-linking projects involving the Mahanadi.

“He should give his nod to Tista-Sankosh-Mahanadi- Godavari river-linking project. Water in the Mahanadi will increase with the project. Naveen dada, give us permission to examine and withdraw your objections,” she said.

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To a question relating to her trilateral meeting with Patnaik and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh last month over the dispute between the two states on sharing the river water, Bharti said a joint panel of the states is at present preparing a report on the availability of water there.

She added that telemetry system has been installed to monitor river flow in the two states.