20 July, Raipur
Reacting to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Raman Singh has said Chhattisgarh is committed to judicious sharing of the Mahanadi water, adding that inter-state water sharing is a sensitive issue and should not be used for political gains.
He, however, added that his state contributes more than 86 percent of the water into Mahanadi up to Hirakud Dam, whereas it is utilising only 25 percent of the water.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Patnaik had expressed concern over seven pick-up weirs and proposed irrigation projects on Mahanadi tributaries. Addressing Patnaik’s concern, Singh said his state abided the Inter-state River water sharing norms, said a statement issued by the Chhattisgarh government.
He said Chhattisgarh was using “limited” Mahanadi water without hurting Odisha’s interest.
He added that the Odisha Chief Minister had not raised the issue with him. “If he would have expressed his concern before me, I would have clarified the situation to him,” said Singh.
Divulging details of the present situation, the Chhattisgarh chief minister said, “About 55 percent of the total geographical area of Chhattisgarh is drained by the Mahanadi River, which is lifeline of Chhattisgarh, and the Rice Bowl of India.
“River Mahanadi and its tributaries have a total drainage area of 53.90 percent from Chhattisgarh, 45.73 percent from Odisha and 0.35 percent from other states, while the catchment area of Mahanadi up to Hirakud Dam is 82,432 sq km, of which 71,424 sq km lies in Chhattisgarh, which is 86 percent of the total catchment.
“Average inflow of Mahanadi at Hirakud Dam is 40,773 MCM, of which 35,308 MCM is contributed by Chhattisgarh. Present utilisation of water by Chhattisgarh is nearly 9,000 MCM, which is only 25 percent of the available water in the Mahanadi up to Hirakud Dam.”
Singh further said, “The barrages under construction on Mahanadi are essentially for industrial use and the proposed irrigation area from all these barrages put together is only 3,100 hectares. All these projects are having less than 2,000 hectares potential and fall under the category of Minor Irrigation Projects, which does not need any clearance from the Central Water Commission (CWC).
“Ambaguda, Salka, Lachchhanpur, Khongsara diversion schemes are also minor irrigation projects, irrigating less than 2,000 hectares each. Kelo is the only major project, which has already been duly approved by the CWC. As per the agreement between the erstwhile undivided state of Madhya Pradesh and the State of Odisha dated 28.04.1983 between the then CM of Madhya Pradesh Arjun Singh and the then CM of Odisha J.B. Patnaik, a joint control board was to be constituted to resolve the issues between the two states relating to survey, investigation, execution or any other issues. This board has not been constituted so far.”
In view of the above, said the Chhattisgarh chief minister, the it is very clear that Chhattisgarh contributes more than 86 percent of the water into the Mahanadi up to Hirakud Dam, whereas it is utilising only 25 percent of the water.
Hence, it is pertinent to note that Chhattisgarh is presently using much less than its legitimate share of water of the Mahanadi basin without in any way adversely affecting the water share of Odisha, including that of Hirakud Dam, he added.
“I would further like to state that Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha has never raised these issues with Chhattisgarh or else I could have given suitable clarification to him,” said Singh, alleging: “Clearly, the concerns of the Odisha Chief Minister are politically motivated and not based on facts and figures.”
“I am sure you will agree that inter-state sharing of water is a sensitive issue and should not be used for political gains. Chhattisgarh has full respect for all provisions governing inter-state rivers and has utilised the potential of the Mahanadi river only in a limited way without in any way depriving Odisha of its benefit. We are committed to only utilise the legitimate share of Mahanadi river in our state,” Singh added.
In his letter on July 4, Patnaik urged Prime Minister Modi to advice Chhattisgarh to stop unilateral construction of major structures across the river, which is ‘lifeline of Odisha’ as the life of the state’s 65 percent population is dependent on it.
Patnaik said from time immemorial the people of Odisha have an emotional, cultural and organic relationship with the holy river.
Soon after Patnaik’s letter was circulated by the Chief Minister’s Office on July 6, the BJD said it would launch a State-wide agitation if the Centre did not intervene immediately.