Stop all construction on Mahanadi, Naveen tells Raman Singh

Bhubaneswar: A day after the announcement by the Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh that his government will go ahead with the construction of projects despite the stiff resistance put up by the Odisha government, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said the statement of his Chhattisgarh counterpart is ‘grossly unfortunate’.

“The statement of the chief minister of Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi waters issued yesterday is most unfortunate. It violates the canons of the doctrine of inter-state river sharing between co-basin states and our federal governance. What is more unfortunate is the false and misleading statements of the Union minister of state for Water Resources Sanjeev Balyan on the floor of the Parliament yesterday. I have already taken up the Mahanadi issue with the Prime Minister seeking his intervention. I sincerely request the Chhattisgarh government to stop all construction till the issue is resolved,” Patnaik told media persons here.

Pointing out that Mahanadi is the lifeline of Odisha as it provides livelihood to four crore people of the state, he said; “As the river is innately connected to our culture and tradition, the people of Odisha cannot ignore its profound contribution and will not allow the river to dry out because of the unilateral and blatant action of the Chhattisgarh government,” he pointed out.

“I assure the people of our state that my government will take up the issue at various levels and leave no stone unturned to establish our justifiable rights over the water of Mahanadi. We will continue our fight till our last breath,” Patnaik added.

Notably, in a press briefing yesterday, Singh had said the Chhattisgarh government is taking water after getting the nod from the Central Water Commission (CWC). “In fact, we have the right to take more water. Nobody can prevent us from going ahead with the construction. We are currently using only 25 percent of the water,” he had informed.

Stating that the issue is being unnecessarily politicised, Singh said his government had started the construction of projects in the Mahanadi basin only after getting approval of CWC. “When we have a discussion, we will ask for a greater share of water due to us, which we will use for irrigation and other purposes,” he had said.