By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, May 16, 2018: Odisha Chief Minister and the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president, Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday launched a frontal attack on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP} by accusing its leaders from the state lending support to the Chhattisgarh government’s projects on the Mahanadi River.

Launching the Mahanadi Surakhya Yatra at Sukhasoda in Jharsuguda district, Patnaik said the state BJP leaders were “shedding crocodile tears” on the issue. Both the Centre and Chhattisgarh governments led by the BJP had adopted an anti-Odisha approach, he reiterated.

“BJP leaders in Odisha are supporting Chhattisgarh for its projects on the Mahanadi. Some leaders are shedding crocodile tears. If they are concerned about the welfare of Odisha and its people, they should oppose the Chhattisgarh government,” he added.

He said that after the state government moved the Supreme Court, it constituted a tribunal to resolve the water-sharing issue.

“Mahanadi remains dry in most months of the year, except during rainy season. The Mahanadi in Odisha is drying up due to construction of barrages by Chhattisgarh. The water-level at the Hirakud dam is also decreasing,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that there will be lack of water for cultivation of Rabi crops in Odisha and fishermen will also face loss.

Mahanadi Surakhya Yatra is scheduled to cover a distance of 1,585 km through 15 districts and culminate at Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district.

In response, the state BJP said the BJD is trying to make the Mahanadi dispute an issue in ensuing Assembly elections.

“When a tribunal has already been formed, there is no point in holding an agitation. The BJD is trying to make it an issue ahead of the polls,” said BJP Spokesperson Golak Mohapatra.

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