By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR/RAIPUR: Defaint Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh on Saturday rejected Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ’s demand to stop construction on River Mahanadi. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, however, called it a non-issue and advised Odisha to come up with infrastructure to store water instead of blaming his state.
“As you know the Mahanadi river is the lifeline of Odisha. Almost 65 percent of our population is dependent on Mahanadi for irrigation water, drinking water and other important matters. If these barrages are built, they will seriously affect all these things and also the delicate environmental equation that is there in our sanctuaries of Bhitarkanika, Satkosia and the Chilka lake,” said Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik speaking to reporters after the meeting.
“I made this point very strongly with the Chhattisgarh Government. They must stop work on their barrages on Mahanadi river, at least to stop work for some time till an expert committee looks into the matter. They were not agreeable. I have called a meeting of the cabinet in Bhubaneswar tomorrow. We will decide on further steps to take. We will leave no stones unturned in the interest of Odisha,” he added.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said, “ I’ve urged the authorities of Chhattisgarh and Odisha to inform the politicians on basis of facts. I religiously follow the mantra of Prime Minister Narendra Modiji that no politics over development. There will be a long term technical committee chaired by the OSD of the Ministry in which there will also be environmental experts as suggested by Odisha Chief Minister. Both agreed on each other’s proposals and all the proceedings have both audio and video recordings”.