Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Aug 11:
A day after the 12-member committee of Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal returned from Chhattisgarh after conducting a field study of construction on the upper catchment of Mahanadi, Union PNG Minister Dharmendra Pradhan questioned the silence of the government on the issue.
“It is surprising to note that the Odisha Government has been silent since last 14 days. The BJD friends went to Chhattisgarh to review the situation. However, where is the Odisha Government? What are the Chief Secretary and Water Resources Department of Odisha Government doing,” questioned Pradhan speaking to reporters in New Delhi today.
“Unfortunately, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is the Minister for Water Resources here. He should not turn his back from his administrative responsibilities and neglect the interest of the state,” he added.
Reacting to his statement, BJD Spokesperson and a member of the 12-member committee Pratap Deb said that the government needs more time to frame its response.
“So far, we have not objected to the joint board. We have said that we are trying to collate data on the issue before framing our response. Besides, the impact assessment needs to be carried out. The next course of action can be decided once we have the data,” said Deb.
“Questioning the government for the time taken doesn’t make much sense. It is not possible to complete the impact assessment of the large Mahanadi basin in such a short duration. I am not sure what data led the Union Minister to make such comments,” he added.
Curiously, while Pratap Deb yesterday expressed his happiness over the cooperation extended by Chhattisgarh, the party took a u-turn today as leader of the team Prasanna Acharya said “Chhattisgarh Government did not provide necessary information”. Besides, he questioned the authenticity of the information provided by Chhattisgarh.
It may be mentioned here that the members of the BJD Mahanadi Committee are likely to meet tomorrow to finalize their report. They are also likely to present their report to party boss Naveen Patnaik tomorrow.
According to a source in the committee, they will recommend Patnaik to send a technical team to Chhattisgarh and affected districts of Odisha to carry out an impact study.