Odisha-C’garh Mahanadi dispute: SC directs Centre to form tribunal in a month

Bhubaneswar: In a significant development in the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over sharing of Mahanadi river water, the Supreme Court today directed the Centre to issue a notification regarding formation of a tribunal within a month to resolve the issue.

Conducting the hearing on the inter-state river water dispute, a bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices S.A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao today asked the Central Government for constitution of a tribunal.

The Supreme Court rejected the arguments of the Centre that there was no need for an exclusive tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi river water sharing dispute and directed the Centre to begin the process for constitution of a tribunal within a month.

The apex court’s direction holds importance as the the Centre had in December last year told the Supreme Court that there is no need to constitute an inter-state tribunal.

In a submission made through an affidavit before the apex court, the Centre had 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.

On the other hand, Odisha government had filed a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court in response to the affidavit filed by the Centre.

The State government in its 60-page affidavit accused the Centre of providing erroneous information to the apex court while violating the law by not constituting the tribunal.

Also read: Settle Mahanadi dispute through discussion: Gadkari to Odisha MPs.

It may be recalled here that, the Centre during a hearing on the Mahanadi water dispute on October 9 last year had committed before the Supreme Court that a decision with regard to the constitution of a tribunal will be taken before November 19.

Further, the then Union Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Balyan while replying to a query by A V Swamy, MP from Odisha had told in the Rajya Sabha on July 31 last year that the draft Cabinet Note on the formation of the tribunal has been prepared.

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