Narasingha slams Centre, State govt for failing to protect Odisha’s interest on Mahanadi issue



Leader of Opposition in Odisha Legislative Assembly and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra today slammed the Centre for failing to protect Odisha’s interests on the Mahanadi river water dispute.

Mishra said the Union government has crossed the limit of shamelessness. He also criticized the State government and ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for failing to highlight the issue in the winter session of the Parliament that concluded today.  “The Centre has already announced in the floor of the Parliament that dialogue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh has failed, it implies there is no chance of further discussion as it would yield nothing”, Mishra said adding as per provisions in law, Centre is bound to form a tribunal to resolve the dispute. “Despite this, the Union Water Resources Minister has proposed amicable solution through dialogue”, the senior Congress leader stated.

Mishra said the Centre is trying to buy time as they have planned so that justice eludes Odisha.  He said that a House Committee led by the Chief Minister was constituted for the purpose. “However, not a single meeting of the committee has yet been convened. It shows that House Committee was just an eyewash”, the Leader of Opposition said.

Government Chief Whip and BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy slammed the Centre and said, “All the exercises of the Centre are aimed at delaying the issue deliberately. The Chief Minister has reiterated in his written demand that the contentious construction work should be stopped first. Later, discussion, be it at the Prime Minister level, ministerial level or Tribunal can be undertaken”.  On Mishra’s allegation that the House Committee formed for the purpose has not met yet, Satpathy said a meeting will be convened soon. He added that the support of all political parties on the issue has been sought by the State government.

Former minister and senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said the statement of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on the Mahanadi issue in the Parliament seems unclear. “No doubt Nitin Gadkari is an able minister, but the Water Resources Ministry has not briefed him properly on the issue. Even the Central Water Commission has also not briefed him. The Minister in his statement has not assured a unitary Tribunal for resolving the Mahanadi dispute”, he said

Mohapatra said, “Earlier two rounds of talks have failed. One was at the Secretary level and next was between the two Chief Ministers. The Union Minister has assured that Odisha’s no injustice will be done to Odisha on the issue. The fact is that Odisha has already been affected”. The veteran politician remarked, “Now the need of the hour is that the House Committee formed on the issue should immediately take it up before the Prime Minister. Negotiations will yield nothing tangible”. What is the loss of the Tribunal is formed?”

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pitambar Acharya said BJD leaders seem more concerned about their own interest than that of people of Odisha. “The Union Minister has already assured that the interest of Odisha in the issue will be safeguarded. BJD is playing politics over the issue”, he said.

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