Government cornered on Mahanadi issue


September 24, 2016 15:03 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: After a wait of two days Congress got a chance to have its say in the third day of the Monsoon Session of State Assembly on Friday. The discussion on Mahanadi water dispute had been decided to be conducted on the day after the Assembly faced 12 adjournments on Thursday.

The debate started after the Question Hour with Government Chief Whip Ananta Das taking the lead. After Das presented his points in the House, Leader of Opposition got the chance to speak on the issue and he poured out his heart targeting the State Government for nearly 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Das had said that the Chhattisgarh Government is constructing barrages upstream Mahanadi without following any rules and regulations. Even if Odisha has protested against the projects, Chhattisgarh is not ready to stop the projects. Central Government is also silent on the issue other than giving instruction to the Chhattisgarh Government.

The ill-effect of the projects by Chhattisgarh was pointed by Das. He said how the 16 districts of Odisha will be affected dearly. The fall in water level of Mahanadi will cost irrigation, drinking water and electricity production facilities of Odisha, added Das. He asked all parties to support the government to fight on the issue.

Mishra during his speech said that instead of taking legal measures the State Government is playing drama. He said that protesting, sloganeering and not allowing the Assembly to run peacefully is not the answer to the problem. Citing example of the year 2000, Mishra said, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had taken charge in the year 2000 and on April 10, 2001 Mahanadi issue had been discussed in the House. Patnaik had strongly protested the projects of Chhattisgarh saying that the construction upstream Mahanadi will not be allowed. But when the Assembly sat again in 2003, the then Water Resources Minister had said that the opposition is concerned unnecessarily on the issue. He also said that further in 2010 the State Government had taken a U-turn on the issue saying that the projects have led to increase in water flow to the State.

The Leader of Opposition further alleged that the State Government is protesting by taking time into factor. It goes into agitation during the coming of elections. As the panchayat polls are approaching the government is taking advantage of the Mahanadi issue. Mishra also said that when he had called for an all-party meeting on the issue, Patnaik did not accept it. After intimating Patnaik for two times, he called the meeting himself as the Chief Minister did not call for it, added Mishra.

The discussion of the tripartite meeting was not presented by Chief Minister in the House, said Mishra. He said that the government’s stand on Mahanadi should be made clear, after that the Congress is ready to support him. He asked why had the government slept for 16 years and now shouting after waking up from a sleep.

BJP MLA Pradip Purohit and Dr. Bibhuti Bhusan Harichandan also targeted the ruling party and pointed out the faults of the State Government. Purohit said that Patnaik denying that he did not know of the projects by Chhattisgarh is not good. If he accepts his fault than the BJP is also ready to support him.

The BJP MLAs further said that Patnaik coming back after the failure of the tripartite meeting was not good. He could have met the President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to find a solution of the issue. They further said that if the ruling party stops playing drama and take legal course than the BJP is ready to support.

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