Mahanadi project issue

Centre constitutes tribunal to resolve Mahanadi water sharing issue

Bhubaneswar: The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the setting up of a tribunal to resolve the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi water sharing issue.

The Tribunal shall determine water sharing among basin states on the basis of the overall availability of water in the complete Mahanadi basin, the contribution of each state, the present utilization of water resources in each state and the potential for future development, said sources.

The decision by the Cabinet comes following the Supreme Court directive to the Centre last month to form the tribunal within a month to resolve the long-standing dispute.

The Odisha government had moved the apex court in December 2016 requesting to direct the Chhattisgarh government to stop its construction work in projects on the upstream of Mahanadi. It had also pitched for setting up of the tribunal.

As per provisions of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956, the Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman and two other Members nominated by the Chief Justice of India from amongst the Judges of the Supreme Court or High Court.

Further, services of two Assessors who are water resources experts having experience in handling sensitive water-related issues will be provided to advise the Tribunal in its proceedings.

As per provisions of the ISRWD Act, 1956 the Tribunal is required to submit its report and decision within a period of 3 years which can be extended to a further period not exceeding 2 years due to unavoidable reasons.

Notably, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had been demanding before the union government for constitution of a tribunal to resolve the water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

All the political parties and civil society organizations are also demanding to protect the interest of Odisha in the Mahanadi water sharing issue.