Senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra today urged the Central Water Commission (CWC) to facilitate an agreement between Odisha and Chhattisgarh for proper sharing of the Mahanadi river water. “It is the duty of the CWC to regulate sharing of the Mahanadi river water between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. But, it has failed to discharge its responsibility. As a result a crisis has arisen,” Mohapatra told reporters here. Requesting the CWC to call the officials and engineers of both the states without further delay to work out a pact, the BJP leader said it should facilitate signing of a water sharing agreement between the two states for proper sharing of the Mahanadi water. Stating that such an agreement would solve the river water dispute to a great extent, Mohapatra said if the CWC failed to take immediate steps for having a water sharing pact between the two states, the Centre should give instructions to it in this direction.
Odisha government should also take steps for such an agreement in the interest of the state and its people, he said adding that the agreement must include water sharing for both monsoon and non-monsoon periods. Alleging that many illegalities have been committed for construction of a number of barrages and dams on the Mahanadi river by Chhattisgarh, Mohapatra said now steps must be taken to save Odisha from water scarcity as well as sudden floods. The BJP leader said that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had already hinted at the important role that the CWC could play in settling the Mahanadi river water controversy.
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He said the two states could go ahead and sign a water sharing agreement even during pendency of the case before the supreme court and water disputes tribunal and the apex court could deal with the larger aspect of the issue. Stressing that Mahanadi water row should no longer be made a political issue, Mohapatra said the aim should be to safeguard the interests of the people in the lower catchment areas of the river in Odisha.At the same time, Odisha government should take steps for construction of submersible barrages on at least six rivers in the Mahanadi river system which would cost not more than Rs 1000 crore. Claiming that most of the barrages in Chhattisgarh have been financed by the NANARD, Mohapatra wondered how the funding was made even after the inter-state river water dispute had cropped up over the Mahanadi.