Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Wednesday criticised Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh for his comment on Mahanadi issue and said his remarks were against the country’s federal structure and the interests of Odisha.
Raman Singh has stated that nobody could stop his state from utilising Mahanadi water.
Addressing media persons here, BJD vice-president and MP Prasanna Acharya said, “Mahanadi river is not anybody’s personal property. As rivers are national assets, individual states cannot stake sole claim on them.”
Calling the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue during his recent Cuttack meeting as “confusing”, Acharya added, “Instead of providing any solution to it, Modi supported Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Chhattisgarh government due to which Raman Singh has now made such devastating statements.”
Stating that the remark of Singh is against the Indian Constitution and federal system, the BJD leader said it is also against all the rules and regulations made for Inter-State Water issue.
“We condemn the audacity and controversial statement of Raman Singh. He has said that Chhattisgarh has 85-86 per cent catchment area of Mahanadi and about 14-15 per cent area is in Odisha. We don’t disagree with this fact but that doesn’t mean, he can claim the lion’s share of Mahanadi,” Acharya said.
“Basing on what provisions of Indian Constitution and the Inter-State River Act, Raman Singh is making such claim? Nowhere is this mentioned. His statement is completely arbitrary and baseless,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
Quoting the observation made by Supreme Court in February, Acharya read out, “Waters of inter-state rivers are national assets and no single state should seek full right over it.”
The BJD alleged that Raman Singh had disobeyed the law of land, Supreme Court and told a blatant lie.
Another vice-president of the party, Debi Prasad Mishra alleged that a large conspiracy had been hatched against Odisha. The Chhattisgarh government is neither following the directive of Central Water Commission (CWC) nor the National Green Tribunal (NGT). It is ridiculous, he added.
In the evening, the student and youth wings of the BJD staged a protest against Singh and burnt his effigy here at Master Canteen.
Chief whip of the Congress Tara Prasad Bahinipati blamed both the BJD and BJP for the issue. “Mahanadi is not a paternal property of Raman Singh. I condemn it as he has absolutely murdered democracy. Both BJD and BJP are enacting a drama over the issue to hoodwink the voters,” Bahinipati stated. However, BJP in its press meet later in the day here shot back at BJD and its government in Odisha. State BJP spokesperson Pitambar Acharya dubbed BJD’s Mahanadi protest as a political gimmick. “They (BJD) have staged protests but never wanted to resolve the issue amicably. They just wanted to indulge in vote politics. They should first seek apology from the people of the state for their failure,” Pitambar said. Quoting PM’s recent statement, the BJP leader asked, “Why the BJD government did nothing in state during its 18-year rule to harness the water of rivers?”
Meanwhile, Puri Sankaracharya Nischalanand Saraswati has asked Odisha and Chhattisgarh to make a joint effort to solve the water dispute. “No one should use Mahanadi to serve his personal or political interests. A vibrant Mahandi is beneficial for both Odisha and Chhattisgarh,” said the seer.