Bhubaneswar: The Congress has demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the illegal and arbitrary action of the Chhattisgarh government, blocking the free flow of Mahanadi water.
“The people of Odisha will keenly listen to the speech of Modi in the public meeting at Cuttack and expect him to admit that Chhattisgarh was wrong in unilaterally constructing dams and barrages without the consent of the Odisha government. The Prime Minister should call spade a spade and categorically sanction Chhattisgarh for its wrongdoing. Let him not play partisan politics,” president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik told the media here.
Lashing out at the Chhattisgarh government, Niranjan said since Mahanadi is an inter-state river, no constructions can be done on it without mutual consent. The Chhattisgarh government, in gross violation of the rules, blocked the Mahanadi water and sold it to the private companies.
Commenting on the scheduled visit of the Prime Minister, the OPCC president said taking the name of Lord Jagannath, visiting Lingaraj temple and praising the freedom fighters of Odisha is all very good. “But, sweet words should be backed by concrete action on the ground. Today, the people of Odisha will judge him only by one issue and that is his stand on the illegal activities of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh,” he pointed out.
He urged the Prime Minister to announce a stop to all constructions till the arbitration process is completed and order immediate release of water that has been illegally stopped by Chhattisgarh.
Taking a dig at the BJD government for its gross failure to protect the interest of Odisha and inability in either completing projects started by the Congress government or taking up new projects, Niranjan said it is the job of the Prime Minister of the country to behave like a statesman and not punish the people of Odisha for the inefficiency of the government.
The OPCC president also said the Prime Minister should announce a special package of Rs 1 lakh crore in three years for construction of irrigation projects in Odisha.
“Since our farmers are suffering much, improvement in the utilization of water resources is the only way to improve their livelihood,” he observed.