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Odisha Cong demands PM’s apology

OPCC chief says PM must direct Chhattisgarh govt to release water and stop all pending work.

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

The Congress on Wednesday said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi should publicly apologise to the people of Odisha when he addresses a public meeting on the banks of river Mahanadi on 26 May, for having allowed Chhattisgarh government to illegally construct barrages upstream of the river impeding flow to downstream Odisha.”

The PM must also direct Chhattisgarh government to immediately release water and stop all construction work pending the Tribunal award, said OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik.

The OPCC president Mr Patnaik and CLP leader Narasingha Mishra held a press conference to list out questions that the PM needs to answer when he comes to Odisha.

“People of Odisha will keenly listen to the speech of Modi in the Public Meeting at Cuttack and expect him to admit that Chhattisgarh was wrong in unilaterally constructing dams and barrages without the consent of the Odisha.”

Mr Modi is the Prime Minister of the country, he should do justice to all states, said the OPCC chief. “Mahanadi is an interstate river. No constructions can be made on the river without mutual consent and yet Chhattisgarh has sold the water to private companies”, he charged.

Since becoming Prime Minister Mr. Modi has visited Odisha several times. “Taking the name of Lord Jagannath or a visit to Lingaraj Temple or praise for legendary freedom fighter Buxi Jagabandhu is all very good and welcome. But, sweet words and gestures ought to be backed by concrete action on the ground. Today, people will judge him by only one issue and that is his stand on the illegal activities of the BJP Government in Chhattisgarh. Does he support the actions of Chhattisgarh or does he support people of Odisha? ” said the OPCC president.

The Congress chief also wanted the PM to explain why he had failed to keep his promise to the people of Odisha when he came for inaugurating the Paradip Refinery of IOCL.

The PM had said one lakh youth will get jobs, when he comes on 26 May he should tell the people how many Odia youth have been employed. He should also announce a one lakh crore special package for the state, said Mr Niranjan Patnaik.

The two Congress leaders also castigated the ruling BJD government as it had failed to protect the interest of the state. The BJD and BJP were together from 2000 to 2009 when barrages were being built by Chhattisgarh government and the BJD had Mr Arjun Sethy as the Union Water Resources Minister.

They slept over the matter, infact the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had told the assembly that flow of water to Hirakud has increased, said Mr Narasingha Mishra. Mishra went on to allege that the CM has betrayed the people of the state.

Even on the demand for special category status, he was a central minister for steel in the then NDA government but he never voiced the demand nor threaten to withdraw support.

Even now when the no-confidence motion is sought to be tabled in parliament, the BJD remains silent, it supports all central bills and refuses to join hands with the opposition parties, he remarked.

Mishra said petrol and disel prices had skyrocketed only because the BJP wanted to use the lakhs of crores by way of excise duty when the crude prices were at rock bottom, to advertise and organize events glorifying the PM and the Petroleum Minister.

In Odisha over Rs 100 crore has been spent on such promotion by oil marketing companies, he alleged. The PM must say what happened to the unkept promises like the Brahmani bridge, the super specialty hospital in Rourkela, he added.

Modiji is most welcome as the people of Odisha as awaiting his response to all such issues, he remarked. Meanwhile, the Cuttack unit of the Congress has decided to put up “pakoda selling “ stalls to greet the Prime Minister.