Opposition Targets Odisha Govt Over Mahanadi Water Dispute

Bhubaneswar: The opposition BJP and the Congress have slammed the Naveen Patnaik government in the Odisha assembly over the long-pending Mahanadi water dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh state.

Raising the issue during zero hour on Tuesday, Leader of Opposition Jayanarayan Mishra (BJP) said two House committees were formed under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister and the Speaker to discuss the Mahanadi water dispute. However, no one knows what happened to these panels.

Whether any meeting of the panels was held or not? Whether they have submitted any report or not?” Mishra asked.

He wanted to know how much money was spent on the five-member legal committee formed to fight for Mahanadi water before the tribunal.

“Let the Water Resources Minister make a detailed statement in the House on this issue,” demanded the Leader of Opposition.

Joining the BJP leader, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra said, “Though two committees were formed to discuss the Mahanadi issue, not a single meeting of the panels was held till now. This shows how serious the state government is on the issue.”

“I have moved a motion for a special discussion on the Mahanadi water dispute, which the Speaker has agreed to allow after passing of the Appropriation Bill,” the Congress leader said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is scheduled to visit Japan on April 3, should postpone the visit and take part in the important discussion, he said.

The Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti also belongs to Odisha. He could have intervened in the matter, but he is yet to do so, Mishra said.

The issue was raised ahead of the field visit of the Mahanadi water dispute tribunal.

The Odisha government had locked horns with Chhattisgarh in 2016 after water flow in the Mahanadi reduced substantially following construction of dams and barrages by the Chhattisgarh government.

On November 19, 2016, Odisha had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Water Resources under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act 1956. A meeting between the two states at the CM-level was held but no conclusion was arrived at.

The Union government subsequently notified the formation of the Mahanadi River Dispute Tribunal on March 12, 2018. Since then, the Tribunal’s tenure has been extended repeatedly including the latest till December 24, 2024.


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