Mahanadi water dispute: Chhattisgarh minister’s comments raise doubt over settlement

Bhubaneswar: While the Odisha unit of the Congress party was quite optimistic about settlement of the inter-state Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh after the formation of the new government, comments by the new Water Resources Minister of the neighbouring state have now raised doubts.

“From the source of the river to the last point, Chhattisgarh has full rights over river Mahanadi,” Chhattisgarh Minister Rabindra Choubey said.

“As far as State-level talks are concerned, controversy can be solved by mutual discussions but since the matter is subjudice in tribunal, Chhattisgarh government will present its views,” Choubey added.

On being asked whether the Chhattisgarh minister’s statements have put the matter in jeopardy, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik said he had discussed the matter with the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and is hopeful of a solution to the issue on a technical level.

“Mahanadi gets its source from the neighbouring State so they have rights over the river just like Odisha. But there is possibility of solution to the issue in a technical manner,” Patnaik said.

Meanwhile, BJP has reiterated that there will be no compromise on Mahanadi river dispute.

“The Congress party is hoodwinking people with their promises but the BJP has always been clear right from the beginning. Not a single drop of Mahanadi will be compromised,” party Vice-President Samir Mohanty said.

On the other hand, BJD has now pointed fingers at the Congress and the BJP by saying that both have same viewpoints so the Odisha government will continue to fight in the Tribunal to get justice for Odisha. “Niranjan Patnaik should answer the comments made by the Chhattisgarh minister as the Odisha Congress was quite upbeat to find a solution to the matter after formation of a new government in the neighbouring state,” BJD spokesperson Sameer Das said.

It may be noted that on December 15, the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal had asked the Odisha government to submit the details of water flow in the river over the last 20 years.