Bhubaneswar, Aug 10: All non-BJD political parties in Odisha today urged the President to direct the Chhattishgarh government to stop construction on the upstream of the Mahanadi to save the lives of millions of people living in the downstream.
"We earnestly urge you to use your constitutional power and direct the Chhatisgarh government to immediately stop construction of all ongoing projects till the issue is resolved," a memorandum addressed to the President, signed by all the non-BJD party leaders, said. The memorandum was submitted at the Raj Bhavan here.
The delegation led by Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress also urged the President to ensure formation of a 'river board' under River Board Act, 1956 to resolve all disputes between Odisha and Chhatisgarh on the Mahanadi water failing which a tribunal might be constituted in accordance with law.
The all party delegation also drew attention of the President to the dispute that Odisha was not consulted by the Central Water Commission (CWC) before clearing a project on the Kelo, a tributary of the Mahanadi.
The memorandum, which was also signed by social organisations, civil society and experts on Mahanadi River System, said the dispute was a direct fall out of neighbouring Chhatisgarh's unilateral decision to construct various projects such as dams, barrages and check dams over the Mahanadi as well as its tributaries, ignoring the right of downstream riparian Odisha state.
Stating that such construction on upstream of Mahanadi is bound to affect the water flow of Mahanadi system and is sure to trigger drought and devastation in Odisha, they said people were already out on streets in various parts of Odisha protesting against Chhatisgarh's attempt to extract more water from the Mahanadi by constructing various barrages and dams. "We are not against use of Mahanadi water by Chhatisgarh.
But, it should not be at the cost of farmers and interest of Odisha," they said. The delegation comprised leaders from Congress, BJP, CPI, CPI(M), TMC, Forward Bloc and others.