Mahanadi Water Dispute : Centre Hands Over Reference To Tribunal

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Bhubaneswar: Nearly a month after the Union Cabinet approving the setting up of a tribunal to resolve the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the sharing of Mahanadi river water, the Central Government today handed over reference of Mahanadi Water Disputes to the Tribunal Chairman and Supreme Court Judge, Justice A M Khanwilkar.

U.P. Singh, Secretary Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation  handed over reference of Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal under Section 5 (1) of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act (ISRWD), 1956 to Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Chairman of Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal and Judge of the Supreme Court today, said officials.

 It may be recalled here that on November 19 last year, the Odisha Government had submitted complaint under Section 3 of the (the Interstate River Water Disputes Act), ISRWD Act, 1956 to the Central Government, seeking constitution of Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunal for the adjudication of water disputes in respect of Mahanadi river between the riparian states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The Odisha government had moved the court in December, 2016, seeking an order asking Chhattisgarh to stop its construction work in projects on the upstream of Mahanadi, saying it had affected the river flow in the state. It had also pitched for setting up of the tribunal. The tribunal would determine water sharing among basin states on the basis of the overall availability of water in the complete Mahanadi basin, contribution of each state, the present utilisation of water resource in each state and the potential for future development, official sources said. According to an official statement, 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 — water resources experts having experience in handling sensitive water-related issues — will be provided to advise the tribunal in its proceedings, it said.

As per provisions of the Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956, the tribunal is required to submit its report and decision within a period of three years, which can be extended for a period not exceeding two years due to “unavoidable reasons”.

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