Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has said that formation of a tribunal is the only way to resolve the Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
“We have met before without any results. We ask them (Centre and Chhattisgarh) to stop work of barrages. The then Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati said that the Central government has no power to do so,” Patnaik said while responding to a question during an interactive session at a round-table conclave here on Saturday.
Patnaik’s response came when he was asked whether he would meet Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari, who in a letter to him, proposed another round of talks to resolve the dispute.
“I request you to communicate a date convenient to you for the discussion so that I am able to fix the meeting at the earliest in consultation with the CM, Chhattisgarh,” Gadkari had written to Patnaik on January 2.
“We have asked clearly to form a tribunal where both the states – Odisha and Chhattisgarh – can come up with their points for judicial outcome,” said Patnaik while justifying his government’s demand for a tribunal to resolve the river water dispute.
On the other hand, the ruling BJD has alleged that the Centre was a party to Chhattisgarh’s “fraud and illegality” and allowed the neighbouring State to go ahead with the constructions over the Mahanadi despite the indictment and show cause notice slapped on Chhattisgarh by the ministry of environment and forests for gross violations of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification and Amendment.
On Saturday, BJD MP Pinaki Mishra came out with letters on how the Chhattisgarh government had violated all rules and the Centre subsequently remained silent on the issue.
“On September 20, 2017, the ministry of environment and forests sent a letter to the Chhattisgarh water resources secretary and sought to know whether Chhattisgarh, on the pretext of irrigation, solely aimed at supplying water to the industries from each project built or being built in the Mahanadi upstream,” Mishra said.
He also questioned how the Central Water Commission had permitted the Chhattisgarh government to go ahead with its projects without considering Odisha’s point of view. – Odisha Channel Bureau