Odisha government files suit in SC on Mahanadi issue

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BHUBANESWAR: The state government has filed an original suit in the Supreme Court under article 131 of the Constitution of India seeking an injuction against Chhattisgarh from continuing with the construction of ongoing projects and taking up future projects on the upstream of Mahanadi river.

Announcing this in the assembly today, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the state govbenment has claimed as a part of its equitable share of a minimum flow of 12.28 million acre feet of Mahanadi water at Hirakud Dam, as per the DPR of Hirakud project of 1947 and a further utilisation of 3.67 million acre feet in the surplus flows.

Stating that Mahanadi is the lifeline of Odisha and its people, the food bowl of the state as well as the ecological hotspots in the delta region, the chief minister said ‘illegal actions’ of Chhattishgarh government in unilaterally planning and constructing projects and barrages in the upper catchment of Mahanadi would spell socio-economic and ecological hazard to the state and its inhabitants.

The chief minister said the state government has filed a statutory complaint before the Centre on November 22 under provisions of the Inter State Water Disputes Act,1956 for constitution of an inter-state tribunal to adjudicate the disputes arising from uniletarally planned utilisation of 27.48 million acre feet of Mahanadi water by the Chhattisgarh government as against availability of minimum flow of 20.61 million acre feet only.

Stating that the government will leave no stones unturned to protect the rights of the people of the state in the Mahanadi issue, the chief minister thanked all organisations, political parties, farmers’ organisations and individuals because of their valuable suggestion on the matter.

Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra, however, said the steps taken by the state government was intended to mislead the people ahead of the panchayat polls. “The Chief Minister himself in a reply in the Assembly way back in 2010 has said that projects on upstream of Mahanadi would not affect Odisha. Now, if the statement is placed before the court, will it give relief to the state?,” Mishra asked.