Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President Prasad Harichandan on Monday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute with Chhattisgarh.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the PCC President urged him to ensure formation of an Inter-State River Water Dispute Tribunal and direct the Chhattisgarh government to stop all construction on the Mahanadi river and its tributaries.
“I would urge upon you to keep aside narrow political considerations and play an active role which is imperative to safeguard the genuine interest of Odisha and basic co-operative federal ethos and principles,” said Harichandan in the letter.
He said the construction of a number of projects on the Mahanadi and its tributaries will deprive the people of Odisha their due share of water.
“Such unilateral construction undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government amounts to gross breach of principles of cooperative federalism that our Constitution envisages,” he pointed out.
He blamed the Centre for doing little to resolve the issue.
The PCC President also took a dig at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for “betraying the trust of people of Odisha”.
“For years together he remained silent on the issue and even when people reacted angrily against his inept handling of the issue, he initiated measures half-heartedly only to befool the people of the state,” said Harichandan.
In a separate letter to the Odisha Chief Minister, the state Congress President said the Chhattisgarh government carried out construction activities because of sheer administrative and political callousness of the Odisha government.
“Not that you (Naveen Patnaik) did not know about the settled mechanism of dispute resolution of inter-state river dispute, but you cared little to invoke the same on time, as you felt that demonstration by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the state against the Centre would ensure the formation of the Tribunal.
“It was only after you realised that the demonstration was not serving your political interests and the people of Odisha were getting sufficiently angry realising your scheming political ploy, you resorted to writing the letter under reference,” said Harichandan.