Odisha raises concern over Polavaram project

Bhubaneswar: Naveen Patnaik today raised concerns over the implementation of inter-state water projects including Polavaram and the ongoing construction of activities in the Mahanadi river in Chhattisgarh.

Participating in the 11th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Inter-State Council here, Patnaik said the Union government has not adopted principles of fair play in declaring Polavaram as a national project and in assigning the task of taking decisions on contentious issues between the two states to a functionary of Polavaram project.

He urged the Centre to discontinue the Polavaram project and constitute a Tribunal at the earliest to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute, and in the interim stop all ongoing construction activities in Mahanadi basin in Chhattisgarh for protecting the livelihood of the people of Odisha.

The meeting was chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Tripura also participated in the meeting.

Patnaik said Odisha fully supports the recommendations of the M M Punchhi Commission aimed at strengthening the autonomy of the states including defining the role of Governor.

He also underlined that it should be common endeavour to retain the constitutional integrity of the federal structure which provides for clear division of powers between the Union and the states.

The Chief Minister mentioned that the decision taken in the GST Council meeting to use the proceeds of the Clean Environment Cess for GST Compensation Fund, meant for all states, is clearly disadvantageous to coal-bearing states like Odisha which have to bear the huge burden of environmental degeneration and the cost of rehabilitation.

He urged the Union government to earmark 60 per cent of the clean environment cess for the coal-bearing states.

Chief Minister informed the Standing Committee that Odisha has assured to provide land and part finance many railway projects for connecting hinterland Maoist-affected areas and urged the Centre to support these projects with adequate funding including the proposed Malkangiri-Jeypore and Jeypore-Nawarangpur Rail projects.

He also desired that the Union government provides “adequate funds” in the Budget for ordinary repair and periodical renewal of National Highways passing through Odisha, many of which are in a state of disrepair.

-By OdishaAge