Odisha MLAs discuss inter-state river water dispute

Published: Jun 26, 2019, 17:17 IST | mid-day online desk

Patnaik had urged Modi to instruct the central agencies to stop construction to protect the interests of farmers in his state

Odisha MLAs discuss inter-state river water dispute
Naveen Patnaik

Discussions were held by members of the Odisha Legislative Assembly on Wednesday over the issue of inter-state river water dispute and its distribution.

BJD MLA Devi Prasad Mishra claimed that the new river basin policy placed in the Parliament is in violation of Odisha's interest.

"There are 13 main rivers in Odisha, and Brahmani and Baitarani are separate rivers. However, these two rivers are shown as one in the new policy. Baitarani river, which is 1,400 kilometres long is spread across 40 sq km in Jharkhand. As per the new policy, the Jharkhand government can interfere in Odisha government's decisions if it decides to construct anything on these rivers," Mishra said while speaking to ANI.

Speaking about Mahanadi River, the BJD legislator asserted that there should be a policy which is independent of the inter-state river water dispute.

"Mahanadi is the lifeline of Odisha. Due to the water dispute between Odisha and Jharkhand, farmers and fishermen are facing a lot of problems in the non-monsoon period," he said.

Mahanadi river water is shared by five states - Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

The governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh are at loggerheads over the sharing of waters of the Mahanadi river.

The dispute had started in July 2016, with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik writing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that the new projects launched by Chhattisgarh across the Mahanadi would hamper water flow to the Hirakud reservoir and affect life in 15 of 30 districts in Odisha, including major urban centres such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Sambalpur.

Patnaik had urged Modi to instruct the central agencies to direct Chhattisgarh to stop construction to protect the interests of farmers in his state.

On Monday, officials from Chhattisgarh and Odisha held talks over the Mahanadi river water dispute between the two states in the Supreme Court premises as per the direction of the tribunal to amicably settle the issue through discussion.

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