Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote to Prime Minister Modi rejecting the Negotiation Committee formed by the Centre to resolve the Mahanadi issue. The CM requested the PM to constitute a Tribunal for water disputes since the issue ‘cannot be resolved by negotiations.’
CM Patnaik stated that his office received the letter on the memorandum on the negotiation committee but was disappointed that the Centre has not yet instructed Chhattisgarh to stop the works for their ongoing projects in the Mahanadi basin. “The formation of the Committee will only delay the setting up of a Tribunal which will allow Chhattisgarh to complete the construction of the disputed projects,” wrote Patnaik.
He also insisted that the Committee is composed arbitrarily because as per Inter State Water Dispute Act of 1956 the Centre should have initiated talks through the Prime Minister or Union Minister for Water Resources once it got complaints from a state but Uma Bharti failed to mediate in the issue by not asking Chhattisgarh to first stop the construction. Also, as per the Centre’s memorandum, the Committee is not intended to negotiate the dispute but record its views.
Among other issues, Patnaik has also raised concern regarding Centre’s nomination of Engineer in Chief of Odisha into the Committee whereas the State should have been the authority to choose its representatives in the Committee.