Centre steps in to resolve Mahanadi river water row

Last Updated 17 September 2016, 19:32 IST

The Union government on Saturday stepped in to resolve the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the sharing of the Mahanadi river water.

In a meeting chaired by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and attended by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, it was decided to form a committee to examine the controversial dam projects in both the riparian states to check whether rules were violated during their construction.

The committee headed by an Officer on Special Duty in the Ministry of Water Resources will submit the report to the Centre in a week’s time.

It was also decided to set up a gauge station by the Central Water Commission at a point where the Mahanadi river enters Odisha.

Odisha, which has demanded that Chhattisgarh stop all types of construction in the Mahanadi basin immediately, expressed its unhappiness over the outcome of the meeting, as Chhattisgarh refused to halt the works.

Odisha accused the upper riparian state Chhattisgarh of illegally constructing a number of dams and barrages across the Mahanadi river without intimating it. The meeting of both the states was convened in the wake of the Cauvery row between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

“I have called a meeting of the Cabinet in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. We will decide what steps to take. We will leave no stone unturned in the interest of the people of Odisha,” Patnaik told reporters after the meeting.

Building of barrages on the Mahanadi river by Chhattisgarh will affect the drinking water and irrigation facilities and sanctuaries in Odisha and the constructions should be stopped forthwith, he said.

Downplaying Odisha’s opposition, Raman Singh said the quantum of water, which flows from Chhattisgarh to Odisha’s Hirakud Dam, can fill the reservoir “five times”.

(Published 17 September 2016, 19:32 IST)

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