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SC defers hearing of Odisha’s petition on Mahanadi dispute to October 9




 The Supreme Court today deferred the hearing of Odisha’s petition on Mahanadi dispute to October 9.

The deferment came after the Central government sought four more weeks to present data on formation of a special tribunal to adjudicate the case. The Centre had earlier sought time twice from the apex court to prepare draft with necessary documents for the tribunal.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice S A Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao was scheduled to hear the case on the inter-state water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Earlier, on July 25 both States and the Centre had presented their views before the court.

Through the petition, Odisha has sought the Apex court’s intervention to direct the neighbouring State to stop project works in the upstream of Mahanadi and direct the Centre to form a tribunal to adjudicate the matter. Odisha has been demanding formation of a tribunal since long. It has been arguing that Chhattisgarh has raised concerns for Odisha by constructing dams upstream, affecting the flow of Mahanadi river.

Meanwhile, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) reacted to the development strongly and said the Centre is adopting dilly-dallying attitude towards the contentious Mahanadi issue. BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “It clearly evinces that the Centre is adopting dilly-dallying attitude towards the Mahanadi issue. When it was earlier heard in the Supreme Court, Centre deposed that it was enacting a new law. But till date, no such act has been tabled in the Parliament. The Centre is trying to deliberately delay the case. It implies that Chhattisgarh is being given time to complete its projects. If the dilly-dallying persists, it would further be evident that the Centre is indirectly supporting Chhattisgarh.”

Congress MLA Naba Das remarked, “People of Odisha have become award of the Centre’s stand on the Mahanadi issue. It is a matter of concern that the Centre has been unable to submit its data with the Supreme Court. I strongly condemn the way the Centre is adopting step-motherly attitude towards the genuine demand of Odisha. We would like to warn the Centre against intense agitation here in Odisha if our demand is lent a deaf ear.”

On the contrary, Odisha BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty commented, “The Mahanadi water dispute has come to such a pass due to the ruling BJD’s dormancy and lethargy. Had the State government taken timely steps at the appropriate time, this problem would not have cropped up. Moving the Supreme Court late and the deferment of hearing dates evinces the ruling BJD’s inefficiency.”






Editorial

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From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.

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