Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct Chhattisgarh to stop construction of barrages on Mahanadi river and ensure free flow of water to his state.
In a letter, Patnaik sought the intervention of Modi to open the gates of Kalma and other barrages to maintain free flow of water downstream which, he said, is the rightful claim of Odisha and its inhabitants.
He requested that a tribunal be set up to resolve the dispute, over Odisha's claim that Chhattisgarh has been supplying water to industries instead of using it for drinking and irrigation purposes. Odisha is also against construction of dams and barrages on Mahanadi saying these would affect interests of its farmers.
"The upstream state of Chhattisgarh has unilaterally undertaken the construction of six barrages across the Mahanadi river, including Kalma barrage, which is located near the inter state border," said the Chief Minister.
He said the barrages, among other disputed works, are a subject matter of the complaint by the Odisha government to the Centre seeking setting up of an Inter State Tribunal under the provisions of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act of 1956.
Patnaik said that despite more than six months of the complaint, no steps have been taken by the central government, thereby allowing Chhattisgarh to "uninterruptedly" go ahead with its "disputed projects" in Mahanadi River basin.
He said the state government has already moved the Supreme Court, which has requested the Centre to take instructions on forming a Tribunal.
According to Patnaik, the state water resources department has recently witnessed "an alarming situation" due to the dwindling flow in the Hirakud Reservoir.
"On Inquiry, it was learnt that Chhattisgarh while opposing the formation of a Tribunal (which unfortunately seems to have been entertained by the Union Ministry of Water Resources) has gone ahead and erected the gates of Kalma barrage and then closed the same blocking the free flow of water to my downstream state of Odisha," the Chief Minister pointed out.
He said the move caused huge unrest in the border districts due to reduction of flow into Hirakud reservoir resulting in scarcity of drinking water during summer.
Patnaik said he has written to his Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh on June 3 for immediate opening of the gates of Kalma barrage.
"But, till date neither I have received any official response from him nor has he got the gates opened restoring the free flow of water," said Patnaik.
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