Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 3:
With no immediate solution to the Mahanadi water dispute at sight, the opposition parties of Odisha today came together to form a joint panel in order to fight for the interests of the state.
The decision was taken in an all-party meeting convened by Leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingha Mishra at a city based hotel today.
“The parties have agreed to form a committee to work on the future programmes. I have been authorized to constitute that committee within seven days. This committee will work towards solving the Mahanadi water dispute. We also agreed that we will submit a memorandum to the President of India on August 10 seeking his intervention given this is an interstate issue,” said Mishra speaking to reporters after the meeting.
He further advised the government to set up a joint control board as per provisions of water sharing act of 1983 signed between Odisha and then Madhya Pradesh Government.
“We urge the State Government to write to the Union Government to move to the Supreme Court for formation of a tribunal for Mahanadi water dispute,” he added.
Further, the leaders demanded the State Government to present a white paper on the issue.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra said that the all-party meeting was successful and it will help the cause of the state if the issue is raised at the Centre.
According to Mishra, all leading political parties of the state barring Samajwadi party and ruling Biju Janata Dal were present in the meeting.
“The water of Mahanadi is called the lifeline of Odisha. It is true for people belonging to not only BJD, but also Congress, BJP and other parties. This issue should not be politicized. I believe, those advising the Chief Minister are not making the correct suggestions. Their stand exposes their arrogance,” said Aama Odisha Chairman Soumya Ranjan Patnaik reacting to BJD’s absence in the meeting.
Biju Janata Dal, on its defence, questioned the very essence of the all-party meeting.
“The very question is: was it an all-party meeting? Or was it a meeting of a group of people who share similar thought process? The PCC President has clearly said that he doesn’t endorse the meeting. On the other hand, the President of Odisha BJP has also not attended. So whose interest is this meeting trying to protest,” questioned BJD Spokesperson Pratap Deb.
BJP issued a clarification saying, “BJP leaders were led by its Leader of Legislature Party KV Singh Deo in the meeting. Odisha BJP President Basant Panda had to miss the event as he had another programme scheduled”.