Odisha knew about Arpa-Bhaisajhar proj in Aug 2015!

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government had egg on its face after the website of its own Water Resources department nailed its blatant lie on the Arpa-Bhaisajhar project in Chhattisgarh saying it got the detailed project report (DPR) from the neighbouring state only in April 2016.

Information on the website shows letters were exchanged between the deputy secretary of the Water Resources department and Chief Engineer over the project on August 26, 2015. The e-despatch shows the deputy secretary seeking suggestions on the DPR of the project from the Chief Engineer of the Water Resources department.

This means the Odisha government was aware of the Arpa-Bhaisajhar project at least eight months before the date when the Chief Secretary claimed the government received the letter from the Chhattisgarh government.

“Though the Chhattisgarh government had said they sent a letter in July 2015 about the Arpa-Bhaisajhar project, nothing has been received by us that month. However, on April 18, 2016, we got a letter dated March 30, 2016, from the neighbouring State,” chief secretary AP Padhila had said on August 16.

The State unit of BJP lost no time in accusing the BJD government of remaining silent about the construction of barrages by the neighbouring state with the intention of handing over the water of the Mahanadi river on a platter to Chhattisgarh.

Golak Mohapatra, BJP spokesperson, said, “The Odisha government entered into a deal with Chhattisgarh so that industrialists will get the water of Mahanadi. The Odisha government is now saying it did not know anything. But the letter is available on the website. We did not fabricate anything.”

Refuting the charges of the saffron party, ruling BJD said if there were any exchange of letters earlier, the matter should be reviewed.

Amar Satapathy, BJD spokesperson, said, “The main goal of all the parties should be to resolve the issue of Mahanadi water. The party will review whether the officials remained silent after getting the letter.”

Notably, if any state sends a DPR to another State regarding projects on a river flowing through both states, the latter should respond within 45 days. If it doesn’t respond within this period or remains silent, the Central Water Commission will take it as a ‘no objection’ to the project.