Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan condemned Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh for his recent statement on Mahanadi waters, but went on to note, that the failure of the 18 year old Naveen Patnaik government to harness even a “bucket of Mahanadi water downstream” was equally condemnable.
Replying to questions on the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh and Mr Raman Singh’s announcement that nobody , not even the Central Water Commission, can stop him from building barrages to use water, Pradhan said the Chhattisgarh CM had erred.
What Chhattisgarh has done is wrong, he said . The ruling BJD here is raising a hue and cry to cover-up its failure. In 18 long years Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has not been able to build a single barrage or reservoir down stream of the river to save monsoon flow, he said.
Not a bucket, not even a millimetre of water in 18 years, he chided while noting that even PM Narendra Modi had pointed out on 26 May on the banks of Mahanadi at Cuttack that Odisha had failed to implement irrigation projects. Pradhan said the riparian states across the country face such problems with the upstream state holding the advantage.
And in most of the cases the matter is resolved through amicable talks and negotiation. Strangely, the BJD here blocked all attempts of the centre to negotiate. The central government repeatedly requested Odisha to come for talks with the Chhattisgarh government, but CM Naveen Patnaik insisted on setting up a Tribunal.
The BJP has supported the establishment of a Tribunal but felt it should be under the newly proposed unitary Tribunal so that early settlement is arrived at , said Pradhan.
Again it was the CM who moved the Supreme Court to get the Tribunal constituted as per the existing act, he noted. Pradhan asserted the BJP here is committed to safeguarding the interest of Odisha as far as Mahanadi waters is concerned
. The Congress countered Pradhan today saying the BJP was full of confusion and contradictions – only yesterday the chief spokesperson of the BJP here had said something else and today Pradhan has another version while Dr Raman Singh and the PM speak in another tone. It is apparent that the BJP does not have a clear vision the Mahandi issue, chided the Congress.
The ruling BJD said Pradhan, at long last, was speaking the truth by condemning Raman Singh and saying Chhattisgarh was in the wrong. But by criticising the BJD for not harnessing water, he has sought to dilute the entire Mahanadi issue, said BJD spokesperson P K Deb.
It may be noted here that Pradhan had called a press conference today to release a booklet on achievements of the Modi government. He listed out the facts on how much Odisha had benefited by the NDA government.
The 14th Finance Commission allocation resulted in Odisha getting over Rs 1,96,632 crore which was double to that of what it got under the UPA dispensation, by auction of mines Odisha gained Rs 71,000 crore as against only royalty and tax under the UPA government, GST benefits to a consuming state like Odisha is immense, the second green revolution has resulted in seed management, agri businesses, railway allocation has been doubled, international flights, ports, oil refinery etc have all come up in Odisha under the Modi government, he pointed out.