The row between Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments over Mahanadi waters continue to provide fuel to political parties here with the BJD, BJP and Congress indulging in mudslinging today even as the independent committee formed at an all party (excluding the ruling BJD) meeting called for greater public consultation and transparency over the issue. 

The independent committee of non-political activists headed by retired judge of High Court Choudhury Pratap Mishra regretted that their plea for a white Paper on the subject of interceptions in Mahanadi has not been acceded to by the Odisha government. 

An informed debate is necessary and to promote it, the Odisha government ought to provide a detailed report on the barrages or dams inflow and outflow, water usage, said the Committee. 

We will go ahead with ‘jana samavesh’ in different parts of the state next month. We are also exploring legal options, said the Committee members today. In a related development Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram criticized the ruling BJD for politicizing the issue. 

The BJD MPs had written to their CM a few years ago requesting him to work on proposals to divert surplus waters of Mahanadi to river Rushikulya and they are shedding crocodile tears over barrages planned by Chhattisgarh government, he chided. 

Oram said the entire effort of the BJD is to deflect public attention from scams, the malnutrition deaths of infants in tribals areas and police firing in Kandhamal district where five innocent villagers including a 13 month old were killed. 

The BJD reacted saying the surplus water diversion or river linking proposal was for the monsoon period. Joining the political slugfest, former union minister and Congress leader Srikant Jena rubbished Odisha governmnet&’s claim that it was yet to receive data on the projects built by Chhattisgarh government. They say ‘we are waiting for information following which we will conduct an impact assessment’, this is ridiculous as the information is available on the net, said Jena. 

Jena alleged that the six barrage projects upstream of Mahanadi had been cleared by the NDA government and not the UPA as was being alleged by political opponents of the Congress.