BJD intensifies campaign against Chhattisgarh’s Mahanadi projects

Bhubaneswar, Oct 27 (IANS) Intensifying its protest relating to the Mahanadi water sharing dispute, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday announced it would form human chains from Hirakud to Paradip in 15 districts of Odisha to protest constructions by the Chhattisgarh government on the river.

The party also decided to launch a signature campaign at the Panchayat-level from November.

It will collect signatures from 86 lakh families across the state to protest unilateral constructions by the Chhattisgarh government. The signatures would be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee, said senior BJD leader Prasanna Acharya.

He said the date for holding the human chain would be declared on November 7.

The party would also carry out various awareness programmes to save the Mahanadi, said party leader Surya Narayan Patro.

“The BJD has proposed the state government to take legal help to resolve the matter. Besides, the party would launch a signature campaign at Panchayat level to collect signatures from 86 lakh families to protest the projects on Mahanadi,” said Patro.

The BJD said the Centre has not responded to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s letter urging for a halt to the projects on the upper catchment of the Mahanadi by the Chhattisgarh government.

“The Centre is directly or indirectly cooperating with Chhattisgarh in expediting the projects. The Chief Minister had written a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in the matter. But no response has been received yet,” he said.

However, the BJP said the ruling party is trying to raise Mahanadi issue for political gain ahead of Panchayat elections scheduled to be held in 2017.

“The BJD is only politicising the issue ahead of Panchayat elections. The party has no interest to resolve the issue,” said state BJP President Basant Panda.