The ruling BJD on Wednesday sought the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to stop construction activities by Chhattisgarh government upstream of Mahanadi and withdraw the national project status as well as central funding to the Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh.
Having disrupted the Assembly session, the BJD legislators marched to the Raj Bhavan holding banners and condemning the central government. They submitted a memorandum addressed to the President through the Governor. Mahanadi is the life line of Odisha, Around 65 percent population of the state living in 16 districts depend on the river, it also serves the environmental and ecological needs of important and sensitive ecological hot spots like Debrigarh, Satkosia, Bhitarkanika, Gahirmatha and Chilika Lake etc. Mahanadi delta is also a very sensitive and critical delta of the country, stated the memorandum.
Chhattisgarh have constructed several projects in the Mahanadi river and its tributaries violating the technical and environmental aspects. The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had drawn attention of the PM, but to no avail.
The unilateral and unauthorised interceptions of upper Mahanadi basin waters by the Chhattisgarh government is against the principles of equitable sharing of water of interstate river Mahanadi, said the BJD. Many of the barrages have been constructed without proper technical and environmental appraisal by Central Water Commission and MoEF. A tripartite meeting was held last week and chief minister Naveen Patnaik had suggested a independent fact finding committee of experts to study and revisit the projects pending which all construction activities should stop.
The Chhattisgarh government did not agree and the centre did not intervene, regretted the BJD. The sinister design of Chhattisgarh government to construct barrages up stream of river Hirakud to supply water to industrial projects by by-passing technical and environmental clearances by terming these projects as minor irrigation projects was also explained to the centre.
It is unfortunate that Union government did not appreciate the serious concerns raised by Odisha pertaining to management, monitoring and administration of inter-state river Mahanadi in true federal spirit, lamented the ruling party.