**Bhubaneswar**: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on his return from New Delhi on Sunday assured that his Government will take all necessary measures to protect the interest of people of Odisha .
“I can assure you that we will take all necessary steps to see that the interest of the people of Odisha is not affected,” reiterated Patnaik after arriving here on his return from the national capital in his reactions on the outcome of the tripartite talks on the Mahanadi water sharing dispute held on Saturday.
“As you know the Mahanadi River is the lifeline of Odisha. It serves 65% of our population in way of drinking water, irrigation, power generation, fisheries etc. Also if this construction work carries on in Chhattisgarh it will damage the delicate environmental balance in such sanctuaries as Satkosia, Bhitarkanika and the Chilika Lake.”
Giving details about the tripartite talks Patnaik said: “At the yesterday’s meeting with the Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh I insisted that the construction work on the Mahanadi including the barrages should stop immediately till the expert committee can look into the whole matter.”
“Sadly, the Chhattisgarh government refused to stop construction work. And unfortunately, the Central government didn’t insist either on this matter to the Chhattisgarh government,” the Chief Minister pointed out.
Meanwhile, opposition political parties in the State are blaming Chief Minister and his Ministers for the dispute by saying the State Government is raising the issue after 10 years.
“Whatever we were thinking that exactly happened. Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti clearly said why Odisha didn’t raise its voice in the last 10 years. All projects had started in 2006 but we are raising this issue in 2016. Now, I don’t see any solutions in near future except mutual cooperation between the two states,” senior Congress leader and former Water Resources Minister Niranjan Patnaik explained.
The BJP too blamed Chief Minister for the whole matter.
“The barrage constructions had started in 2006 and the Odisha Government didn’t raise the issue in the 10 years. Despite knowing about the projects and fully aware about the situation, the State Government had done nothing in the past decade. Now, BJP on its part will definitely try to take steps so that Odisha will not be affected,” said BJP leader Prithivraj Harichandan.