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BJD slams Chhattisgarh Minister for comments over Mahanadi water issue




 Ruling BJD today said the remarks of Chhattisgarh Industries Minister Amar Agarwal on the Mahanadi water row that Odisha was attempting to politicize the issue has exposed the real face of the BJP and indicator of the double standard of the party.

Party vice-president Prasanna Acharya told reporters here, “Agarwal's remarks exposed the "real face and double standards" of the BJP government in the neighbouring state.”

Chhattisgarh's action was "arbitrary and illegal", he said adding its leaders have been making contradictory statements on the Mahanadi river water issue and their main aim was to benefit industrial houses.

Hitting out at BJP over the issue, Acharya, also a Rajya Sabha MP, said the NDA government at the Centre has been acting as a silent spectator and had not taken any concrete step to resolve Mahanadi river water dispute.

Notably, Agarwal said in Sambalpur last evening that the construction of barrages in his state on Mahanadi river was not a recent development and Odisha government was politicising the issue to "mislead" people.

Construction of barrages in Chhattisgarh on the inter-state river was taken up many years ago, Agarwal said and asked the Odisha government to explain why it was silent all these years.

The minister admitted that Chhattisgarh government has already collected 15 year’s tax from different industrial houses during construction of the barrages in their state.

He said his government has agreed to provide a major amount of water to these industries and not for irrigation as is claimed.

Slamming the Odisha government for raising the river water issue now, he said "BJD is simply trying to politicize the issue and mislead the people.

"The Mahanadi issue was raked up by the BJD all of a sudden since the party realised that it was fast losing its popularity and grip over the people. The regional party is playing with people's emotions," Agarwal said at 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' programme to mark three years of BJP-led government at the Centre at Sambalpur last night.

The barrages were constructed on Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh by collecting water cess for about 15 years in advance, Agarwal told reporters.

Asked whether the barrages were constructed by Chhattisgarh without obtaining Central Water Commission's approval, Agarwal said the Chhattisgarh government never received any notice from CWC on the matter.

He claimed that industrial houses are not sponsoring construction of barrages on the Mahanadi river. The projects were taken up on PPP mode and funds raised through collection of water cess in advance were being utilised for the purpose.

The water from the barrages was also being used for irrigation purpose in the state, Agarwal said.

Meanwhile, the State unit of BJP alleged that the State government is also providing adequate Mahanadi river water to several industrial units across State even as people are facing huge shortage of drinking water during summer.

BJP’s State unit vice president Sameer Mohanty told a press conference that the Naveen Patnaik government is falsely blaming neighbouring Chhattisgarh government for supplying river Mahanadi’s water to industries.

More than 2608.2 million cubic metre of river water from 11 rivers have been provided to various industries across the State, Mohanty said adding the Sesa Sterlite Limited alone is getting 30,000 cubic metre of river water every day.

The BJP leader further said that the amount of Mahanadi river water supplied to industries across the State is ten times more than the amount used for drinking water purposes from the same rivers.

The government has decided that around 111.92 million cubic metre of river water from Mahanadi is to be used for industrial purpose while only 1280 million cubic metre of water is meant for drinking water, alleged Mohanty.

The BJP leader quoted from the data provided by the Chief Minister and Water Resources Minister Naveen Patnaik while responding to various queries on the floor of the State Legislate Assembly.






Editorial

Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.

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