President urged to stop construction on Mahanadi river

Bhubaneswar, Aug 10 (IANS) All political parties, save the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), in Odisha on Wednesday requested President Pranab Mukherjee to direct the Chhattisgarh government to stop construction on the upper catchment of the Mahanadi immediately.

“We earnestly urge you to use your constitutional power and direct the Chhattisgarh government to immediately stop construction of all on-going projects till the issue is resolved,” said parties in a memorandum addressed to the President.

The memorandum submitted to Governor S.C. Jamir was signed by all the non-BJD party leaders, several civil society organisations and experts. The all-party delegation was led by Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra.

They also urged the President to ensure formation of a ‘River Board’ under River Board Act, 1956 to resolve the disputes arising between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on the Mahanadi water.

“The dispute is a direct fall out of neighbouring Chhattisgarh state unilaterally deciding to construct various projects such as dams, barrages and check dams over Mahanadi as well as its tributaries ignoring the right of downstream riparian Odisha state,” said the memorandum.

It said these projects are bound to affect the non-monsoon flow as well as early monsoon flow of Hirakud reservoir and Mahanadi river, virtually the lifeline of Odisha.

It further said Odisha was not consulted by the Central Water Commission (CWC) before clearing a project on the Kelo, a tributary of the Mahanadi.

“As per principle of inter-state river basin management, any information in relation to water in river Mahanadi and its tributaries need to be shared with co-basin states. It is unfortunate that Chhattisgarh has not shared full information of all projects with Odisha,” said the all-party delegation.

It said such construction on upstream of Mahanadi is bound to affect the water flow of Mahanadi system and is sure to trigger drought and devastation in Odisha.

Meanwhile, a delegation of ruling BJD is in Chhattisgarh to inspect the construction of barrages by the neighbouring state government. The BJD is also opposing the construction.



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