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BJD set to raise Mahanadi, Polavaram issues in Parliament




 The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD)today announced its decision to raise the Mahanadi water dispute, Polavaram project row and other pressing issues facing the state during the winter session of the Parliament, beginning tomorrow.

The decision was taken today at the BJD's parliamentary party meeting at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's residence here.

All the 28 MPs of the party - 20 Lok Sabha members and 8 Rajya Sabha members - were present at the meeting, presided over by the CM.

"We will raise the Mahanadi water-sharing dispute in both the Houses of the Parliament. The party will lodge a protest against the Centre's apathy over the matter," BJD MP and Parliamentary Party spokesman Kalikesh Singhdeo told reporters after the meeting.

The Centre is favouring Chhattisgarh over Odisha by not constituting an interstate tribunal to resolve the dispute, he said.

This apart, Singhdeo said, the regional party MPs will also rake up the Polavaram issue and demand an increase in minimum support price (MSP) of paddy in the Parliament.

The Odisha government had been opposing the Polavaram dam project on Godavari river as it could lead to the submergence of a vast tract of land in the state.

"The Centre allowed the Chhattishgarh government to give bonus to its farmers while putting restrictions on Odisha. We will also highlight that in the Parliament," Singhdeo said.

The BJD MPs have also decided to raise questions over the Centre's delay in executing different railway projects in the state despite getting a free-of-cost land.

The State government has also agreed to bear 50 per cent cost of the railway projects.

The delay in construction of the second Brahmani bridge and non-revision of coal royalty will also be discussed during the winter session, said BJD Rajya Sabha MP P K Deb.

The 21-day-long winter session of Parliament will conclude on January 5.

Notably, the State Assembly yesterday unanimously passed a resolution to place demand before the Centre to constitute a tribunal for resolving the Mahanadi water between Odisha and Chhattishgarh.

The members cutting across the party lines felt that a Tribunal, constituted under Section 4 (1) of the Inter-state River Dispute Act- 1956, is essential to resolve the water dispute as the neighboring Chhattishgarh undertakes construction of projects on the upstream of the river Mahanadi at the cost of State’s interest.

A House Committee comprising members from all parties under the chairmanship of the Leader of the House and Chief Minister, will place the Assembly's demand before the Prime Minister of India, the resolution said.

"We will have to fight in one voice and claim setting up a tribunal to resolve the water dispute," Government Chief Whip Amar Prasad Satpathy who moved the resolution, said.

He appealed all the members to come together and fight for the rights of the people of Odisha.






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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