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Youth and student wings of the ruling BJD have decided to stage an agitation across Odisha tomorrow to protest the denial of special category status to the state and fall in water flow in the Mahanadi due to construction of barrages on the river in Chhattisgarh. Activists of Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD) and Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD) will stage protest demonstrations at all district headquarters across Odisha, said BCJD state president, Rana Pratap Patra. Though the people of Odisha and different political parties have been demanding special category status to the state to ensure speedy development, the Centre continues to dismiss the plea, Patra said. He also termed the recent remark of Union Minister V K Singh that Odisha does not need special category state status as, "unfortunate". On the Mahanadi issue, Patra said the river water is being provided to industries in Chhattisgarh by constructing a number of barrages and dams, but people in the downstream of the river in Odisha, particularly farmers, are deprived of water for agriculture and drinking purposes. The BJD has been accusing the NDA regime at the Centre of backing the BJP government in Chhattisgarh. Party leaders said the Chhattisgarh government had constructed six barrages upstream on the river "unilaterally and illegally", which led to dwindling of water flow downstream affecting farmers and others in Odisha. The BJD accused the NDA government at the Centre of backing the BJP government in Chhattisgarh. It said the Chhattisgarh government had constructed six barrages upstream on the river "unilaterally and illegally", which led to dwindling water flow down stream affecting the farmers and others in Odisha. The ruling BJD, which also observed a bandh in four western Odisha districts on June 9, is demanding immediate opening of the gates of Kalma barrage so that the flow of Mahanadi into Odisha from Chhattisgarh does not get affected. Describing Mahanadi as the lifeline of the people of Odisha, the BJD leaders accused both Centre and Chhattisgarh of acting in an arbitrary manner with scant regard for democratic and federal principles. They said Chhattisgarh government did not respond to Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik's request to open the gates of Kalma barrage, one of the six barrages "unilaterally" built by the neighbouring state over river Mahanadi without any reference or regard to the downstream interests of Odisha and its inhabitants.
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