Bhubaneswar: Political parties in Odisha were today entangled in a slugfest over neighbouring Chhattisgarh releasing/not releasing Mahanadi water during monsoon/non-monsoon period.
BJP state unit president Samir Mohanty said Chhattisgarh was not releasing water to Odisha during the summer (non-monsoon period) but now it is discharging floodwater in Mahanadi river system in the wake of incessant rain in the upper catchment areas in last few days.
“We are condemning the attitude of Chhattisgarh government as it is releasing floodwater to Mahanadi without any prior information to Odisha government. Odisha is now witnessing a flood-like situation due to Chhattisgarh’s noncooperation in this regard. The Chief Ministers of the two states should solve the issue at the earliest through dialogue,” Mohanty said.
Senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Debi Prasad Mishra too criticised the Chhattisgarh government for its alleged noncooperation in the management of floodwater in Mahanadi.
“Certain consensus on Mahanadi water dispute was evolved during a tripartite consultation among Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, then Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati in 2016. However, Singh did not adhere to the decisions. They constructed barrages in the upstream of Mahanadi and did not release water to Odisha in the non-monsoon season. The current Bhupesh Baghel government also did not do anything substantial to resolve the issue,” Mishra expressed.
The BJD leader also claimed that Chhattisgarh officials are not participating in the bilateral meetings convened by the Odisha government for management of floodwater in Mahanadi.
“They should participate in the meeting and provide prior information regarding the release of floodwater,” Mishra said.
Congress MLA Suresh Kumar Routray said Chhattisgarh has constructed several barrages in the upstream of Mahanadi in the last 15 years for which the flow of water to Odisha in the summer has gone down significantly, he added.
“Our Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and senior officials of the state government did not do anything to prevent Chhattisgarh from building barrages on Mahanadi. Successive governments in Chhattisgarh have never honoured our requests for releasing water in the dry season. Now, they are requesting us to open sluice gates of Hirakud dam for flood management. We should not pay heed to their requests,” Routray argued.
Notably, Hirakud dam chief engineer Ananda Sahoo recently alleged that Chhattisgarh government was not cooperating with Odisha for flood management in Mahanadi. He alleged that authorities in the neighbouring state were not informing their Odisha counterparts before releasing floodwater in the river.
Chhattisgarh government, however, rejected the allegations and blamed the authorities of Hirakud dam for the present crisis.
On the contrary, Chhattisgarh Water Resources department chief engineer Rakesh Kumar Nagaria alleged faulty sluice gate management at Hirakud dam has led to widespread flooding and damage in the upstream of the river.