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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 18:

A day after the tripartite meeting between Odisha Government, Centre and Chhattisgarh on the Mahanadi water sharing dispute failed to bring desired outcome, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today held a cabinet meeting in Bhubaneswar to decide the future course of action and hinted at taking legal measures to protect the interests of the state.

Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi

The cabinet today deliberated on legal options available for the state to enforce a stay order on the constructions in Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi. Besides, it discussed other possible options before the state along with the outcomes of the tripartite meeting held yesterday.

According to Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, the State Government is evaluating all possible options including legal ones. The final call will be taken within next 10 days.

“The cabinet unequivocally supported the stand of the State Government and resolved that the State Government should take all possible steps to protect the interest of the people of Odisha. We are exploring all possible options including legal ones. Right now, I don’t want to give a definitive statement in this regard. We will do whatever is necessary within the next week or 10 days,” said Padhi speaking to reporters after the meeting.

According to source familiar with the developments, the State Government will make environmental impact of Chhattisgarh projects a key issue and is likely to approach National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Chief Minister Patnaik had yesterday raised the environmental impact issue in the tripartite meeting itself.

Making the case for Odisha stronger, a member of the River Board BP Dash supported the stand of Odisha Government.

“The biodiversity of Mahanadi will decrease if Chhattisgarh stops providing water to Odisha. Chilka lake will turn to a completely brackish water lake. Similarly Bhitarkanika will also get affected as the flow of flood water will recede drastically. Fishes in Mahanadi will go extinct. The river currently produces 1000 tonnes of fish. We should take both legal and engineering advice and approach the NGT,” said Dash.