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Uproar in State Assembly over Mahanadi dispute

 The State Assembly today witnessed repeated adjournments as members of three major political parties engaged in a war of words over Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh even as an all party meeting resolved to form a House Committee to handle the issue.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters after the meeting that all the parties have decided on a House Committee.

The meeting was attended by the Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra, Leader of BJP Legislature Party Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo and few ministers and MLAs.

Patnaik said the all party meeting condemned the attitude of the Centre as “It has failed to act as neutral referee” in the vexed issue.

Earlier, opposition Congress MLAs rushed to the well and shouted slogans against the central and state governments for not setting up a tribunal to resolve the dispute.

The ruling BJD MLAs also joined the frenzy and raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The BJP members, on the other hand, blamed the ruling party for the stalemate.

Notably, the Central government, through an affidavit in the Supreme Court, has said the Odisha government did not provide required information in the matter, hence, there is no need to constitute a tribunal, said BJP legislature party leader KV Singhdeo.

Mishra alleged that the Centre has betrayed the people of Odisha by denying them a tribunal.

"As per the Constitutional guidelines, a tribunal should be formed to resolve water dispute between two states. This is one of the biggest violations of law," Mishra said.

Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat was unable to run the House amid the noisy scenes and adjourned the sessions several times in the day. The State was not serious about the Mahanadi issue, the BJP MLAs maintained.

"We have been demanding a White Paper on Mahanadi water dispute, but the state failed to provide one with proper data," BJP MLA Pradeep Purohit said.

The State government chief whip Amar Prasad Satpathy countered the BJP's allegations and said the Centre's betrayal came to the fore when it moved Supreme Court with the affidavit.

When a State applies for a tribunal, the Centre is bound to constitute it under the Inter State River Water (ISRW) Disputes Act, 1956, he said.

"In case of Odisha, the Centre acted with an ill intention to help completion of projects by the Chhattisgarh government," Satpathy alleged.

The State government had written to the Centre for constitution of an inter-State tribunal under section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) to resolve the Mahanadi water sharing dispute between Chhattisgarh and Odisha.


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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