Ongoing projects on Mahanadi river won't stop: C'garh Minister

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Raipur,August 1: Amid an ongoing row over Mahanadi river with Odisha, Chhattisgarh Water Resources Minister Brijmohan Agrawal today asserted his state will continue with the projects approved by Central Water Commission (CWC) on the river.

"The ongoing projects, approved by the CWC on Mahanadi river (in Chhattisgarh), will not be stopped," Agrawal told .


Notably, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his concern over structures and proposed irrigation projects over Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh and requested Centre's intervention into it.

On July 29, during a meeting of CWC in Delhi, Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand had given the state's approval on constituting a joint board to discuss issues related to Mahanadi and its tributaries between the two states.

However, Odhisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi had said that a decision in this regard will be taken after discussing the matter with Patnaik.

As per an agreement between then Chief Minister of the erstwhile undivided state of Madhya Pradesh Arjun Singh and then Odisha Chief Minister GB Patnaik in April, 1983, a joint control board to resolve the issues between the two states related to Mahanadi was to be constituted. It has not been done so far, Agrawal said.

"Chhattisgarh had given its consent for the formation of joint board during the recent meeting in Delhi and now it's upon Odisha to take further decision," said the minister.

The catchment area of Mahanadi up to the Hirakund dam is 82,432 sq km, of which 71,424 sq km lies in Chhattisgarh, which is 86 per cent of the total catchment.
Average inflow of Mahanadi at Hirakund dam is 40,773 MCM, of which 35,308 MCM is contributed by Chhattisgarh.

Present utilisation of water by Chhattisgarh is nearly 9,000 MCM, which is only 25 per cent of the available water in Mahanadi up to the Hirakund dam, he said.

The structures are being made on the river to conserve the rain water in Mahanadi for its proper utilisation by people particularly farmers, Agrawal added.

According to the Minister, the issue is being politicised by the Odisha government.

"The state has always abided by the inter-state river water sharing norms and has used limited Mahanadi water without hurting Odisha's interest. The ongoing projects on the river by Chhattisgarh would not affect the interest of people of neighbouring state", he stressed.


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