All non-BJP political parties including the ruling BJD on Friday rejected the Centre's decision of setting up a negotiation committee to assess the availability and utilisation of waters in the Mahanadi river and its tributaries.
The parties, instead, demanded immediate formation of a tribunal as per law of the land to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute, which was caused allegedly due to "unilateral" construction of projects on upstream of the river by neighbouring Chhattisgarh.
Stating that the Centre's move on constituting a committee comes after protests in Odisha over Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh being chosen as a star campaigner by BJP for the ensuing rural polls, the BJD said the state government's demand to stop work was not yet implemented.
"The fear that the opposition towards Raman Singh by all parties except BJP and the public of the state, has led to the sudden announcement of forming a committee over the Mahanadi issue. We are yet to receive the terms of reference," said BJD spokesperson Pratab Deb.
While the intervention of the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary were ignored by the Centre, this committee will be yet another futile exercise, Deb said alleging "In the process, Chhattisgarh will be given opportunity to finish the project in the name of the committee." The Congress and the CPI(M) also rejected the Centre's decision of setting up a negotiation committee terming it as a ploy to delay the formation of a tribunal to resolve the matter.
"We demand formation of a tribunal as per law and not a committee to further engage in talking," the CPI(M) said in a statement. "We have decided to reject the committee and demand formation of a tribunal to resolve the matter," said Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati.
The Samajwadi Party has moved the State Election Commission (SEC) seeking its direction and asking the Centre to withdraw such a committee as it violated Model Code of Conduct for the panchayat elections.