Mahanadi water: Mere tribunal not enough, say BJD, Congress

Bhubaneswar: A war of words over Mahanadi water dispute resurfaced in the state hours after the Centre apprised the Supreme Court that it would issue a notification for formation of a tribunal by November 19 to resolve the issue.
Amid mudslinging, both opposition Congress and the ruling BJD demanded that the Centre issue necessary instructions to Chhattisgarh to halt the dam and barrage projects ‘unilaterally’ in the Mahanadi river upstream.
“The Centre is not showing any mercy to us. Formation of a tribunal to resolve the matter is our right and the BJP-led NDA government has adopted a dilly-dallying attitude towards its formation to protect its interest in Chhattisgarh,” Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee chief Prasad Harichandan said.
Harichandan further said that the formation of an inter-state tribunal is not enough. The Centre must direct Chhattisgarh government to freeze construction of all ongoing projects in upper catchment of the river until the matter is settled.
Holding both the BJP and the BJD responsible for the Mahanadi issue, the state Congress chief said Orissa has suffered the most during last 17 years, especially when there was a BJD-BJP coalition government from 2000 to 2009.
Citing the instance of Polavaram row, Harichandan said, both the BJD and the BJP are responsible for the backwardness of Orissa. He said the parties have compromised with the interest of the state to safeguard their own political interest. He also questioned why Orissa is still deprived of a special status tag or a special package.
BJD spokesperson Sashmit Patra demanded that along with the formation of a tribunal the Centre instruct Chhattisgarh to halt its project in Mahanadi river upstream.
BJD chief whip Amar Satapathy, however, rubbished the allegation of Harichandan, saying it is the Congress and the BJP that have compromised with the interest of people of Orissa in the Mahanadi and Polavaram issues to achieve their political goals for which people have rejected them in the state.
On the other hand BJP leader Sajjan Sharma said the Centre’s efforts to form a tribunal for Mahanadi shows the concern of the BJP government at the Centre for Orissa.
He alleged that the barrage projects in Mahanadi were sanctioned during the UPA government to which the BJD government remained silent.

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