By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, April 13, 2018: Odisha Legislative Assembly on Friday suspended all the scheduled businesses of the House and held a special debate on the Mahanadi water issue.

Members cutting across the party lines expressed concern over Chhattisgarh constructing several barrages on the river, preventing water flow to Odisha.

The members alleged that Odisha, located on the downstream of Mahanadi, is facing serious water scarcity for its irrigation purposes and human consumptions. They also said the ecosystem of the river was fast degrading due to deplete in the flow, posing threats to aquatic life.

The debate which continued till late evening concluded with Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat assuring the lawmakers to convey their concerns over Mahanadi to the Union government.

Leader of the Opposition Narasingha Mishra said since Mahanadi was lifeline of Odisha, there was need to take up the matter seriously with the Centre and seek the latter’s intervention to stop Chhattisgarh from constructing barrages.

He blamed the state government for failing to understand the gravity of the situation and taking right steps at appropriate time to preempt Chhattisgarh government’s design.

BJD lawmaker Sanjaya Das Burma accused the BJP of taking the sides of Chhattisgarh government without taking into consideration the concerns of Odisha.

BJP Legislature Party Leader Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo said there was no question of BJP taking the sides of Chhattisgarh government and said his party would extend all support to the state government while taking up the matter with the Union government.

Earlier, water resources minister Niranjan Pujari brought to the notice of the members the number of barrages constructed by the Chhattisgarh government over the river. He also highlighted how the neighbouring state has floated tenders recently for fresh constructions, disregarding Odisha’s objections.

Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat assured the members to convey concerns of the House to the Union government.

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