Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday admitted that Chhattisgarh has reduced the downstream flow of water in the Mahanadi, due to which Odisha is not getting the required river water during non-monsoon months.Pradhan said that the water flow into the Mahanadi's lower catchment area has been affected due to the construction of barrages in the upper catchment areas in Chhattisgarh.The Minister was addressing a press conference in Sambalpur on the completion of four years of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government.He said that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should take steps to put pressure on the Chhattisgarh government to release water to Odisha."There is a need to put pressure on the Chhattisgarh government and I request the Odisha Chief Minister to take steps in this regard. I personally support the cause and the Centre will always help in resolving the issue," said Pradhan.
He said no provision has been made by the state government to store water in lower catchment areas of Hirakud reservoir, as a result of which the water is flowing into the sea.On the other hand, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said that the central government should put pressure on the Chhattisgarh government to release water for the benefit of the Odisha people."The Union Minister was forced to admit this not due to his conscience but due to people's mandate in Odisha," said BJD Rajya Sabha MP Prasanna Acharya.Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik said: "This indicates what the Congress and every Odia have been saying all along. The BJP shamelessly snatched Odisha's share of the Mahanadi and the BJD helped them in doing so by silently supporting the loot. This has been happening since the BJD and BJP joined hands for power in Odisha."