Mahanadi Issue: Centre Convenes Meet On Friday

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Bhubaneswar: Amid the tug of war between the two neighbouring states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the contentious water sharing issue of Mahanadi river and ruling BJD’s vehement protest here, the Ministry of Water Resources has convened an inter-state meeting on Friday (July 29) relating to the controversial projects of Mahanadi basin.

As per the notice, dated July 25, 2016 and simultaneously sent to the chief secretaries of Odisha and Chhattisgarh, Water Resources Ministry’s Secretary will hold the meeting on Friday.

Keeping his reactions before media on the scheduled meeting, BJD leader Rabinarayan Nanda questioned, “How can Odisha Government put forth its clear stand on all the illegal projects being built by Chhattisgarh when they have only provided us with the DPR (detailed project report) of only one project while the state is constructing a series of projects on Mahanadi and its tributaries?”

Nanda quipped that Chhattisgarh is trying to keep Odisha in dark.

Congress leader Prafulla Majhi in his reactions said, “The BJD Government lacks requisite political will on such a vital issue like the Polavaram issue. As had been the Polavaram issue, in this issue too Odisha Government does not have the needed data to sustain its stand of loss on the Mahanadi water sharing issue”.

On the other hand, BJP leader Pradeep Purohit viewed, “Odisha Government in its 16 years of rule could not utilize the Mahanadi water resources for the benefit of the state as Chhattisgarh has done in these years since our Water Resources Secretary had once in his statement said that 30% of Mahanadi water is being used for irrigation in Odisha, 10% for hydropower generation while 60% goes unused and flows into the sea which need to be harnessed and properly utilised”.

Pointing finger at Odisha’s lack of data and statistics on the whole contentious issue, the BJP leader argued that when Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh is laying bare all the data and statistics to justify their stand, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in his statement on the issue for the first time could not put forth the data except striking an emotional chord and mere politicizing the issue.

Senior journalist Rabi Das in his reactions on the current hullabaloo over Mahanadi water sharing issue termed it, “Purely vote bank politics”.

“It’s a fact that Mahanadi is lifeline for both Chhattisgarh and Odisha as over 85% of the catchment area of Hirakud Dam falls in Chhattisgarh and they have also the right to utilise the water,” Das viewed.

Coming to the vital issue of Hirakud Dam, he informed that initially when the dam was built it was for an inflow of 26 million cubic feet water of Mahanadi.

“Following inadequate rainfall now and in the wake of the constructions in Chhattisgarh, the water level has come down to 14-15 million cubic feet, but it would not hamper Odisha as the capacity of Hirakud Dam is 4.8 million cubic feet and meanwhile 25% of the dam has been filled due to siltation. Hence, its present water holding capacity is 3.5-3.8 million cubic feet and thus the water flowing into it is sufficient,” the senior journalist opined.

Das also viewed that for construction of a barrage for irrigating 2000 hectares of land needs no prior permission of any one.

“If Chhattisgarh is doing so, it would not consume too much of water as apprehended here, rather it need to be researched why the upsteams are getting affected and what can be the remedial measures,” Das suggested.

Meanwhile, BJD has brought privilege motion in Parliament against Union Water Resources Minister of State Sanjeev Balyan for his misleading facts on the Mahanadi issue.

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Rabinarayan Nanda, BJD leader, Odisha

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Prafulla Majhi, Congress leader, Odisha

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Pradeep Purohit, BJP leader, Odisha

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Rabi Das, Senior Journalist, Odisha

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BJD'S ongoing protest over Mahanadi issue at Subarnapur district