Mahanadi issue

Odisha forms legal team for Mahanadi water dispute

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has formed a five-member legal committee comprising senior lawyers of the Supreme Court to place its argument before the newly-formed Mahanadi Tribunal.

The Mahanadi Tribunal is scheduled to hear the ongoing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on sharing of Mahanadi water on September 29.

The five members of the legal committee are Mohan B Chatterjee and Mahesh Agrawal, Radheshyam Jena (presently dealing with Polavaram and Bansadhara cases), Dr Anindita Pujari and Ranbir Singh.

Apart from the legal committee, the state government has also started consulting the technical experts including former hydrologists of the Central Water Commission (CWC), senior Professors of Hydrology of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and former Hydrologists of the Roorkee-based National Institute of Hydrology.

Notably, the central government has formed a tribunal following the direction of the Supreme Court to resolve the Mahanadi water sharing issue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The centre formed a three-member Mahanadi Tribunal on March 12 in line with the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has nominated Justice AM Khanwilkar of the apex court as the chairman and Dr Justice Ravi Ranjan of the Patna High Court and Justice Indermeet Kaur Kochhar of the Delhi High Court are the other two members of the Tribunal.

The Odisha government alleged that Chhattisgarh has constructed several barrages and dams on the upper catchment of Mahanadi river blocking the flow of water, which has affected the interest of Odisha.

It said the water dries up during the non-monsoon period in the lower catchment area of Hirakud reservoir affecting agricultural activities in the state.