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Tri-Parties meeting at Delhi tomorrow on Mahanadi water dispute



Raipur, September 16, 2016: A centrally brokered tri-parties meeting would be held tomorrow at Delhi, chaired by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, to find a solution to the Mahanadi river water sharing dispute.

"Hirakud Dam was constructed in 1957 on Mahanadi and it is irrelevant now to raise the issue of Hirakud reservoir and Mahanadi water sharing by Odisha after 59 years," Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh said indicating that his government was not ready to accommodate the demand of the neighbouring state.

State Water Resources Minister Brij Mohan Agrawal has also accused the Naveen government of "playing politics over the issue" and said his government does not want to hide anything on Mahanadi.

Chhattisgarh government has also clarified that the barrages, constructed on river Mahanadi, would not affect the water intake of Hirakud dam as the barrages are meant for checking rain water and not having any diversion bear to check the normal flow.

"Mahanadi water can fill seven such Hirakud reservoirs as Mahanadi carry average 40,773 MCM water, where as the Hirakud dam has a capacity of only 5400 MCM capacity," the Raman government said.

The Delhi meeting would be chaired by union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, who had invited Chhattisgarh and his Odisha for a discussion on Saturday to iron out differences.

The issue of Mahanadi water dispute was made a political issue by the Naveen Government just a few months ahead of the Panchayat Poll in Odisha by accusing the BJP government in Chhattisgarh of unilaterally constructing scores of barrages and anicuts to check or divert Mahanadi river water from flowing in to Hirakud reservoir and downstream as Mahanadi is originated from Dhamtari district and has a catchment of 82,432 sq km or its 86 per cent are in Chhattisgarh.

Odisha government has taken 'seriously' the issue as a vast area of the state is depending upon Mahanadi for irrigation and drinking water, said an Odisha Government official adding the Chief Minister will present before the meeting all facts and figures on the dispute.

Both the neighbouring states are locked in a duel for the last four decades over sharing of water from Mahanadi.

To resolve the protracted dispute, on April 28, 1983 the then undivided Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh and his Orissa counterpart Janaki Ballav Pattanaik signed an agreement to constitute a 'board' to look into survey, water sharing and other related issues of Mahanadi. But that never happened and the issue was remained untouched and unresolved.

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