Mahanadi water issue haunts Odisha Assembly again

The Mahanadi water dispute issue returned to haunt the Biju Janata Dal government in Odisha Assembly on Monday with the Opposition legislators stalling the proceedings over Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s statement over the issue.

The House witnessed several adjournments during the day with the Opposition alleging that Mr. Patnaik had announced to go alone although legislators cutting across party lines had stated to fight jointly to ensure protection of Odisha’s interest in Mahanadi water sharing.

Disapproving Mr. Patnaik’s reply, legislators belonging to both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party rushed to the well and raised slogans as soon as the House assembled in the morning. They wanted to know what recourse the State government was planning to take to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute. Replying to a debate on the issue that continued for more than eight hours spread over two days, Mr. Patnaik had on Saturday rejected the Centre’s decision to constitute an expert committee to look into the Mahanadi issue.

“We reject the proposal as it does not stop the construction by the Chhattisgarh government and the helpless Union Government,” Mr. Patnaik had said in his statement in the House.

“We are taking action on administrative and legal fronts to protect our rights and ensure justice to our people,” he had added.

The issue was taken up for discussion after the ruling BJD legislators stalled the proceedings of the House for two consecutive days by raising slogans against the Chhattisgarh government and the Centre over the Mahanadi and Polavaram issues. Impasse continued to prevail in the House throughout the day with the Opposition legislators stalling the proceedings whenever the House reassembled after an adjournment.

The CAG reports were, however, tabled in the House in the evening.