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CM urges PM to expedite Mahanadi river tribunal


 Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite the issuance of notification for formation of a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

"The delay in constituting the tribunal has been taken advantage of by the state of Chhattisgarh in going ahead with construction work of six barrages on the main Mahanadi river, which is likely to prejudicially affect the interests of Odisha and its inhabitants, particularly during the non-monsoon period," Patnaik wrote to Modi.

Odisha has been opposing Chhattisgarh's act of constructing barrages on the upstream of river Mahanadi as this will adversely affect the flow of water to Hirakud reservoir.

Patnaik said the Odisha government had filed a statutory complaint on November 11, 2016 under Sec 3 of the Inter State River Water Dispute (ISRWD) Act of 1956 seeking constitution of a Water Dispute Tribunal under Sec 4(1) of the ISRWD Act, 1956 for the adjudication of the water dispute in respect of inter- State river Mahanadi and its basin between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. He added that the provision of Section 4 (1) of the Act of 1956 as amended in 2002 mandates that if the Central government “is of the opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, the Central government shall within a period not exceeding one year from the date of receipt of such request by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a water disputes Tribunal for adjudication of the water dispute”.

The Supreme Court on October 9 this year had directed the Central government to issue notification on tribunal formation by November 19, 2017.

"In this regard, I may like to draw your kind attention to the fact that the Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Union of India in the Original Suit No 1 of 2017 (filed by the state of Odisha) had apprised the Hon'ble Supreme Court on 02.05.2017 that the Union Ministry of Water Resources has prepared a Note for the decision of the Cabinet on the constitution of a Tribunal and reference of Odisha's complaint dated 19.11.2016 for adjudication....," Patnaik mentioned in the letter.

The chief minister said delay in constituting the Tribunal has been taken advantage of by Chhattisgarh in going ahead with the construction works of six barrages on the main Mahanadi river, which is likely to prejudicially affect the interests of Odisha and its inhabitants, particularly during the non-monsoon period.

Notably, the ruling BJD held demonstrations in districts along the banks of Mahanadi.

The party said Mahanadi was the lifeline of nearly 64 per cent population in State.

The ruling BJD also organized Kalash Yatras in all the district along the banks of Mahanadi and ‘Jal Satyagrah’ to protest the construction of barrages by Chhattisgarh Government.

The party said the farmers in Odisha have been severely affected due to the sharp fall in flow of water in the Mahanadi river after barrages were constructed by Chhattisgarh.

Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra has asserted that both BJP and BJD are ‘enemies of State’ and were not keen to protect State’s interest.

EDITOR : Bijoy Ketan Mishra
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