Odisha assembly panel to be formed on Mahanadi water dispute: CM

Bhubaneswar, Dec 7 : Accusing the Centre of not playing fair on the Mahanadi issue, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said an assembly committee will be formed to chart out the future course of action on its riverwater dispute with Chhattisgarh.

Odisha’s decision came after the Union government informed the Supreme Court that there is no need to constitute a tribunal to resolve the river water issue since the Odisha government did not provide the required information in the matter.

The Chief Minister said what the Centre has done in the Supreme Court suggests that it is “no longer a neutral referee” on the Mahanadi issue.

“We have decided that a house committee will be formed. What the central government did in the Supreme Court on Wednesday suggests it is no longer neutral in this matter,” the Chief Minister said after an all-party meeting in the assembly Speaker’s chamber.

He said his government will hold further discussions with leaders of other Odisha parties about the state’s future strategy on the issue.

He assured that his Biju Janata Dal will fight for Odisha’s interests.

The assembly on Thursday witnessed repeated adjournments as members of the ruling BJD and the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party engaged in a war of words over the riverwater dispute.

“The Centre has cheated Odisha people. Constitutional guidelines allow a tribunal to resolve riverwater dispute between two states, but the Centre has refused to constitute the same on baseless grounds. It is one of the biggest violations of law. Instead of a protector, the Centre has acted as a killer,” Leader of the Opposition Narasingha Mishra said.

The BJP demanded that the state should provide detailed report on the Mahanadi matter again.

“The BJD is trying to move away from the main issues as it failed to provide a detailed report on the dispute to the Centre. The central government informed the apex court that the Odisha government did not provide the required information and hence there is no need to constitute the tribunal,” BJP member Pradeep Purohit.

The state government had written to the Centre to set up the inter-state tribunal under the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956, to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute.

/IANS

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