Kolkata: The first conference of five eastern States convened by the Union Water Resources Ministry aimed at resolving water disputes among these States held here today witnessed arguments and counter arguments between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi issue.
Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Surjya Narayan Patro representing Odisha raised the issues of Chhattisgarh finalizing tenders for construction of Mohmela Siripur barrage despite curbs imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and Centre’s delay in announcing the Terms of Reference (TOR) for Mahanadi tribunal.
Similarly, Odisha also raised its objections to projects undertaken by neighbouring Jharkhand on rivers Sankha and Koel. It argued that these unilateral actions by the neighbouring State would lead to drying up of river Brahmani.
“There are problems with regards to Mahanadi. Problems also exist on Brahmani and Indravati. Chhattisgarh government has constructed 7-8 barrages as a consequence of which water is not flowing down in Mahanadi. We had a discussion on these issues,” said Patro speaking to reporters.
However, Chhattisgarh’s Water Resources Minister Brij Mohan Agarwal refuted Odisha’s allegations and argued that at no point his State has stopped the water flow.
He also clarified that tenders for the Mohmela Siripur barrage were invited much before NGT’s orders.
In order to put Odisha in the backfoot Agarwal alleged that his State-Chhattisgarh was not getting the amount of water from the Indravati project as agreed in the agreement between the two States.
However, Odisha has refuted Chhattisgarh’s claims on this account.
“With regard to problems with Odisha, the Supreme Court had ordered for formation of a tribunal which has been already constituted. I feel those problems will be decided by the tribunal,” stated Agarwal to reporters.
Union Minister of State for Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal, who called the meeting of five eastern States-Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, however, said that all the issues raised at the meeting would be resolved.
“Whatever inputs we have got at today’s meeting we will certainly resolve those. We have to expedite resolution of all water disputes and today’s meeting was part of that exercise,” Meghwal said briefing reporters.