Centre declines need for tribunal on Mahanadi water dispute

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: In a significant development, the Centre today told the Supreme Court that there is no need to constitute an inter-state tribunal in the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over sharing of river Mahanadi water.

In a submission made through an affidavit before the apex court, the Centre shifted the blame on Odisha government for failing to provide relevant facts and figures required for constitution of such tribunal despite several attempts by it to seek those.

However, the Centre has proposed that the matter can be resolved through negotiation.

“For formation of tribunal or for any negotiation you have to cooperate and provide facts and figures as well. Despite several attempts, Central government is yet to get facts and figures on the basis of which negotiation can be held. This matter can be also mutually resolved through negotiation. Unless you provide facts and figures on what is your total crop requirement, water requirement and basin area what is the tribunal going to do? Certain materials are required for constituting a tribunal but Central government is yet to get that. So how can Central government constitute the tribunal?” queried Central government’s defence counsel Wasim A Kadri.

On the other hand, Odisha’s ruling party-BJD has slammed the Centre for its stand on Mahanadi.

“During a hearing in the Supreme Court, the Central government had then said that the tribunal will be constituted by November 19. Why had it kept mum? Couldn’t it tell at that time that the Odisha government has not provided facts and figures and that’s why the tribunal has not been constituted? This is an attempt to shift the blame from itself and put it on the State government. It is nothing other than helping BJP’s Raman Singh government in Chhattisgarh,” said Pratap Keshari Deb, BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP.

The BJP however, blamed the State government for not being serious on any matter.

“The State government is not at all serious. The grounds cited by it for referring to a tribunal were insufficient. Can a tribunal formed on the basis of an 800-page document solve the issue?” asked K V Singhdeo, leader of BJP legislature party.

The Odisha Assembly too witnessed a heated debate on a motion over Mahanadi issue moved by the ruling BJD.

BJD members slammed both Chhattisgarh and Centre over the issue.

“Environment impact assessment authority of Chhattisgarh too has said that these barrages have been constructed illegally. As a consequence of which water flow will decrease by 33-78 percent in the non-monsoon period which will affect our lives and livelihoods,” said Government Chief Whip Amar Prasad Satpathy outside the House.

On the other hand, Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra has blamed both State government and the Centre for the matter.

“The Chief Minister has ignored the Opposition. He has to protect Mahanadi and interest of the people of Odisha as well. Let us all rise above party politics to save Mahanadi,” Mishra said.




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