The Congress on Friday held chief minister Naveen Patnaik squarely responsible for the Mahanadi water dispute with Chhattisgarh. 

Releasing a white paper on the Mahanadi water dispute, OPCC president Prasad Harichandan said the chief minister, who is in charge of the water resource department for the last 16 years has failed to protect the interests of Odisha. 

The white paper stated the Chhattisgarh government has taken advantage of the inefficiency of the Odisha government and constructed various projects upstream of river Mahanadi. The chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik is now shedding crocodile tears after remaining silent for so many years and raising the issue only with an eye on the ensuing panchayat election, it noted.

Arjun Sethi from the BJD was the water resource minister in the NDA government at the centre from 2000 to 2004 and yet he took no step to protect the flow of Mahanadi when projects were being constructed by the undivided Madhya Pradesh government. 

“Since the BJD government here did not concede to the Opposition demand for a white paper, we have released one today,” remarked Harichandan.

The OPCC president however hoped that the tripartite meeting at Delhi tomorrow will resolve the dispute and safeguard the interest of Odisha. 

The Congress wants a Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal to be constituted, in the eventuality of the failure of the tripartite meeting. Pending resolution of the dispute all project work on Chhattisgarh side should be suspended, said the Congress.