With its battle against Andhra Pradesh in the Polavaram multi-purpose dam issue almost lost after the NDA government on Wednesday announcing to fund all its construction expenses, the ruling BJD in Or
With its battle against Andhra Pradesh in the Polavaram multi-purpose dam issue almost lost after the NDA government on Wednesday announcing to fund all its construction expenses, the ruling BJD in Orissa is now preparing itself to make hard bargains with the Chhattisgarh government with regard to the sharing of Mahanadi river water.
Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Raman Singh will on September 17 sit across the table in New Delhi to sort out the Mahanadi water dispute in presence of Union water resources minister Uma Bharati.
Prior to the proposed meeting, Mr Patnaik has convened a preparatory meeting on September 12 to take a decision on the contention it would place before the Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh at the tripartite meeting which would be presided over by Uma Bharti.
Sources said the Orissa government would harp on stopping all the ongoing dam and barrage projects on the Chhattisgarh side over the Mahanadi and its tributaries. Secondly, it also wants earmarking of a lion share in the total water flow of Mahanadi to Odisha, a co-basin state.
Official sources said the catchment area of Mahanadi up to Hirakud dam in Orissa is 82,432 square kilometres, out of which 71,424 sq km are in Chhattisgarh, which is 86 per cent of the total catchment area.
The average inflow of Mahanadi at Hirakud dam is 40,773 million cubic metres (MCM), out of which 35,308 MCM is the share of Chhattisgarh.
According to Chhattisgarh chief secretary Vivek Dhand, his state his currently drawing only 9,000 MCM, which is only 25 per cent of the available water in the river.
An unconfirmed source said that Chhattisgarh, which earns around Rs 800 crore from industrial use of Mahanadi water, wants to maximize its revenue generation by exploiting more of the natural resource. Since this move directly clashes with Odisha’s interests and affects over four crore people living in the downstream in Odisha, it remains to be seen how the two states and the Centre resolve the dispute on the September 17 meeting.