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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Nov 11:

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today launched a signature campaign in Cuttack aimed at collecting signatures of 84 lakh residents of the state to raise awareness on the Mahanadi water sharing dispute with Chhattisgarh and Polavaram project issue with Andhra Pradesh.

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“This programme is to make people aware of the neglect of the Central Government and the two neighbouring states of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh as far as Mahanadi and Polavaram are concerned,” said Patnaik after being the first signatory of the campaign.

“The condition of Odisha would become problematic if water flow recedes during the non-monsoon period. We are considering moving to court to protect the future of Odisha, its residents and Mahanadi. This signature campaign today will help create awareness,” he added during his address to BJD workers.

The party aims to reach out to all 84 lakh families of the states and collect signatures from at least one member from each of the families.

Earlier in the day, the supporters of women wing of BJD took out rallies with earthen pots on their heads as a mark of support for the campaign.

Opposition parties, however, were not pleased and called it a political move aimed at upcoming panchayat elections.

“I would request BJD to stop the drama and instead approach the court instead. This is not going to defend the interests of the state. They should either write to the Center requesting to form a tribunal or attempt to get a tribunal formed through the Supreme Court,” said Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra.

“The biggest worry is: most of the barrages were built during the 17 years stint of the Chief Minister in the Water Resources Department. Three months back, he committed in the Assembly that legal and administrative steps would be taken. I would like to ask why they are not doing so and who they are trying to help,” questioned Odisha BJP Chief Spokesperson Sajjan Sharma.