Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra today described the Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court on Mahanadi water row as a move to forge “friendship with Chhattisgarh and enmity with Odisha.” The affidavit filed by the Ministry of Water Resources, accusing the state of not providing enough evidence to justify the formation of a tribunal, is a big blow to Odisha’s pride, Mohapatra told reporters here. “The Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court is a move to forge friendship with Chhattisgarh and enmity with Odisha. How can the Centre be partial to Chhattisgarh?” he said. The Centre had four days ago filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, alleging that Odisha did not provide sufficient information for setting up a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute. It also said that both the states can resolve the issue through negotiation. The ministry’s affidavit exposes the “double standards” of the Centre, the BJP leader alleged. “The Centre finds fault only with Odisha government but not Chhattisgarh, even when the neighbouring state violated several laws,” Mohapatra said, referring to the affidavit.
The Odisha government had moved the Centre for an inter-state tribunal only after a negotiation failed with Chhattishgarh in November, last year, he explained. “Union Minister of State Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, had said that a decision has been taken to set up a tribunal. However, now when it’s time to constitute one, the Centre is raising unacceptable questions,” he said. The senior BJP leader said the neighbouring state and the Centre have conspired against and its people.
“The conspiracy was hatched by the Chhattishgarh government with active support from the central government.” Odisha had been opposing Chhattisgarh’s plans to build 13 barrages and seven pick up weirs (small dams) on the upstream of Mahanadi river. The BJD government asserted that the construction would adversely affect the interests of its farmers.