**Bhubaneswar: ** The nagging problem of Mahanadi water sharing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh has yet again prompted political slugfest among the main opposition party Congress, another opposition BJP and the ruling BJD in Odisha.
Convening a press meet on the issue, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik criticized, “Modi came to Cuttack, but didn’t give any assurance or consolation to the people of Odisha the way we have been suffering in Mahanadi context. It implies that he is showing favour either directly or indirectly to his party-ruled Chhattisgarh. He is least bothered about Odisha.”
“Even Odisha Government is also at fault. If the Mahanadi issue is analysed, the first wrong-doer is our incumbent State Government. I’ve been reiterating it and also repeat today. Our incumbent State Governmnt didn’t even learn from the Chhattisgarh Government,” he burst.
He further alleged, “29 companies were ready to ink MoU with the Odisha Government for setting up various industries here in the State. Our State Government didn’t even protest Chhattisgarh then. Rather it was stated that even 100 such constructions on Mahanadi upstreams wouldn’t hamper Odisha. It’s in 2015. Out of those 29, 6-7 industrial firms established their units in Chhattisgarh.”
On the contrary, BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb shot back, “Why was the Congress party here silent for long? Why was the previous PCC chief Prasad Babu (Harichandan) silent while now the new chief Niranjan Babu (Patnaik) is raising voice? Does it imply that with the change of guard, the thoughts also change?”
“Prasad Babu used to remain silent and issued no statement on the issue and also avoided the all party meeting proposal on Mahanadi. Instead of blaming others, one should better be sincere in the duty entrusted to him,” he commented.
In his media reactions, Odisha BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra argued, “Niranjan Babu was the former Water Resources Minister of Odisha. An agreement had been struck then during Janaki Babu’s tenure. Why the then Water Resources Minister Niranjan didn’t take any action and sat idle? All the constriuctions in Chhattisgarh had been built during the 10-year-rule of Congress then.”
He alleged, “When NDA Government came to power at the Centre in 2014, it wrote letter to Odisha Government enquiring about the consent given to Chhattisgarh. Thus it raked up the present Mahanadi issue. This issue got exposed only after the incumbent BJP-led Central Government came to power. Hence, the real culprit is Congress. It should first be explainable to the people of Odisha.”
“Secondly, the BJD Government during its 18-year stint has not been able to make any arrangements to the tap the Mahanadi water dowstreams of Hirakud Dam till Bay of Bengal. It could have harnessed the flood water going waste into the sea unused,” the BJP leader quipped.
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