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Naveen Patnaik’s rejection of Centre’s committee has exposed his double standards: Dharmendra Pradhan

Pending the formation of the tribunal, he urged the prime minister that Chhattisgarh be immediately directed to stop the ongoing projects in the Mahanadi basin.

By: PTI | Bhubaneswar |
January 29, 2017 6:00:29 pm

Naveen Patnaik, Naveen Patnaik writes to PM, PM Modi, PM Modi on Mahanadi dispute, Odisha Mahanadi dispute, Mahanadi water dispute, Patnaik on Mahanadi water dispute, indian express news Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik (Source: Express photo)

Hitting out at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for rejecting the Centre’s Negotiation Committee on the Mahanadi river water dispute between the state and Chhattisgarh, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan Sunday said it exposed the BJD chief’s “double standards for political gains”.

“The chief minister is unnecessarily creating a farce only to protect the vested political interests jeopardising the interests of the state and his action reflects his double standards,” the Union Petroleum Minister told reporters. A day after Patnaik wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to withdraw the Negotiation Committee formed by the Union Water Resources Ministry to resolve the issue, Pradhan said as per the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, there was a provision for forming a tribunal.

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However, prior to its formation, the Centre has gone a step forward with the formation of a Negotiation Committee to resolve the issue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, he added.

“Unfortunately, the BJD government in Odisha is in no mood to accept the formation of the committee as it is only keen to make political gains at the cost of the state’s interests,” the BJP leader alleged.

Dubbing the BJD government as “helpless”, Pradhan said Patnaik had asked the state’s chief secretary to attend the meeting of the chief secretaries of Odisha and Chhattisgarh which was convened by the Union Water Resources Ministry.

He claimed that the Odisha chief secretary had agreed to the decisions taken at the meeting, but later, changed his mind after talking to “someone else, probably after receiving instructions from someone in the chief minister’s office”.

Pradhan said the discussions between the chief ministers of Odisha and Chhattisgarh, at a meeting presided by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, were recorded and could be presented as proof.

Patnaik, who had agreed to the proposal at the meeting, also changed his mind later, he claimed. While rejecting the Negotiation Committee, Patnaik in his letter to Modi yesterday said he was open to attending a meeting at the prime minister’s level as a “last chance” to settle the river water dispute through dialogue.

“My government rejects the Negotiation Committee and requests your good self to instruct the Central Government (Ministry of WR, RD&GR) to withdraw the Office Memorandum dated January 19, 2017 constituting the committee and initiate the constitution of a Tribunal as the water dispute raised in the statutory complaint of my government dated November 19, 2016 cannot be resolved by negotiation,” Patnaik wrote.

Pending the formation of the tribunal, he urged the prime minister that Chhattisgarh be immediately directed to stop the ongoing projects in the Mahanadi basin.

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