Claiming that the Kelo irrigation project in Chhattisgarh was cleared without informing Odisha, the state govenrment today said it was not even consulted by the Central Water Comission (CWC) before giving the approval.
“We want to clarify that Odisha government had not received any letter from the Chhattisgarh government as reported by a section of media. The media reports said Odisha was given letters in July and September 2008 by the chief engineer and the water resources secretary of Chhattisgarh. This is not all a fact,” Chief Secretary A P Padhi told reporters here.
Stating that there was a meeting of the Central Water Commission (CWC) in January 2009 in which the Kelo project on Mahanadi was cleared by the CWC, Padhi pointed out that the Odisha government was not even invited to the meeting for consultation as a co-basin state.
“The documents that we have obtained now clearly show that Odisha was not invited to the meeting. Even after the clearance of the project, Odisha was not informed about it either by the Chhattishgah government or the CWC. It is clear that the Kelo project was approved behind our backs. As a co-basin state, Odisha has the absolute right to be consulted before clearing such a project,” Padhi said.
Odisha Chief Secretary said the Kelo project was cleared as a “stand-alone” project even as it was a tributary of river Mahanadi. “Before giving clearance to the (stand-alone) project in the tributary, its impact on the entire catchment area of the river Mahanadi should have been considered. That has not been done,” Padhi said, adding the project was cleared hurriedly keeping in view the 2009 general elections.
Again on Arpa-Bhaishajhar project, the Chief Secretary said that it is claimed that Chhattishgarh issued letter to Odisha in July, 2015. “But, the fact remained that the letter was issued by Chhattishgarh government on March 31, 2016 and we received it on April 18, 2016. We replied to the letter on April 26. We are also opposed to Arpa-Bhaishajhar project,” Padhi said.