Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been invited by the Centre for a tripartite meeting on Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, on Wednesday expressed willingness to join the proposed talks on September 17 in Delhi.
“The Chief Minister has proposed to join the tripartite meeting called by Union Water Resources Ministry on Mahanadi river issue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh in Delhi on September 17,” a CMO statement said.
A perparatory meeting would be held under Patnaik’s chairmanship at the state secretariat in Bhubaneswar on September 12 for detailed discussion on the river water issue, it said.
Amid the tug of war between the two neighbouring states over sharing of Mahanadi river water, the Ministry of Water Resources had asked Odisha government to suggest possible dates for a tripartite meeting to resolve the issue.
After a BJP delegation from Odisha met Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti in New Delhi about a fortnight ago, it was decided to invite the chief ministers of the two states to Delhi for a meeting on any date between September 10 and September 20.
The BJP delegation led by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had expressed concern over the developments taking place over the Mahanadi issue and it sought assurance from the Centre that Odisha would get its due supply of water from the river.
“Bharti has assured us that the Centre would not allow any injustice towards Odisha,” Pradhan had said. Bharti had also told the delegation that she has asked officials of her ministry to ensure that Chhattisgarh shared all information sought by Odisha before the chief ministers’ meeting.
Odisha has been accusing Chhattisgarh of unilaterally constructing projects on the upstream of Mahanadi river which caused decline in the flow of its water to the state.
The issue has meanwhile snowballed into a major controversy between the two states. The opposition in Odisha organised a state-wide bandh and the ruling BJD staged agitations against construction of projects on the river in Chhattisgarh.
The Centre had on July 29 convened a meeting of senior officials of both the neighbouring states. However, the issue remained unresolved as Odisha complained that Chhattisgarh was yet to share complete information on the matter.