BJD, BJP, Congress lock horns on Mahanadi water issue

Bhubaneswar : Politics over the Mahanadi water dispute refused to die down in Odisha with three major political parties locking horns in a bid to gain mileage on the issue.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram on Thursday attacked the BJD-led government, saying that the MPs of the party who are now arguing about water deficit in Mahanadi basin had sought diversion of surplus Mahanadi water to Rushikulya basin.

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Oram produced a letter sent by BJD MPs to the Union Water Resources Minister to prove his point.

The minister alleged that the state government is raising the issue to divert attention from Kandhamal encounter and malnutrition deaths in Nagada of Jajpur district.

Reacting to the allegations, Sidhant Mohapatra, BJD MP and member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources, clarified that the party had sought diversion of the Mahanadi water only during monsoon to provide water for irrigation and drinking water projects in South Odisha.

Meanwhile, the ruling party has decided to take out Kalasa Jatra in six districts from August 20-26 to protest against constructions over Mahanadi by Chhattisgarh government.

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Srikant Jena attacked both the BJD and BJP for hiding their misdeeds over the Mahanadi water issue.

“The BJP and BJD should stop blaming the UPA government for giving approval to Chhattisgarh for construction of barrages and dams. It was the Narendra Modi government, which granted approval to the projects after coming to power in 2014,” said Jena.

He said the allegations of both the political parties are not based on truth.