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Raman Singh’s statement on Mahanadi ‘condemnable’: Pradhan

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Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday said the statement of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on the Mahanadi water issue is “condemnable”.

“The statement of Raman Singh on Mahanadi issue is deplorable. The stand of Odisha Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is clear that we will not compromise on the interest of Odisha,” Pradhan told reporters here.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister had recently claimed that they had a natural right to use more Mahanadi water as the major part of the river’s catchment area fell in his state.

The Union Minister also admitted that Chhattisgarh had done wrong by not allowing water to Odisha.

“I admit that Chhattisgarh has committed a wrong. The tribunal constituted to resolve the water sharing issue will decide on this. But the inter-state disputes should be resolved through discussion,” said Pradhan.

He also questioned the efficiency of the Odisha government on the utilisation of water in the lower catchment area of Mahanadi, which is flowing into the sea.

He said the state government failed to develop a mechanism to store the water flowing into the sea in the last 18 years.

Reacting to the development, Biju Janata Dal (BJD)’s Rajya Sabha member Pratap Deb said the saffron party had finally admitted that Chhattisgarh had done wrong.

“BJP’s stand on Mahanadi issue is not clear. It has started backtracking on the issue after the BJD held a padyatra to sensitise the people,” said Deb.

Earlier, the ruling BJD demanded an unconditional apology from the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister for his statement that a major part of the catchment of Mahanadi river fell in Chhattisgarh and therefore the state had a greater right over its water. (IANS)