Settle Mahanadi dispute through discussion: Gadkari to Odisha MPs

New Delhi: While Odisha government has been reiterating its demand of formation of a tribunal to resolve its dispute with Chhattisgarh over sharing of Mahanadi river water, Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari today opined for settling the matter through discussion saying that moving a tribunal only delays a solution.

Gadkari said though Odisha has the right to move a tribunal or the Supreme Court, records show that water disputes take several years to get resolved.

Responding to questions raised by some BJD MPs over the Mahanadi issue in the Lok Sabha today, Gadkari said the Centre is bound by law to set up a tribunal but it would be better if the state government approaches the Centre for solution over the matter through a discussion.

He further said Odisha will get its right in the next 3 months after a bill, which seeks to create a single tribunal for all inter-state water disputes, gets approval of the Lok Sabha.

BJD MPs Nagendra Pradhan, Arjun Sethi, Bhartruhari Mahatab and Kalikesh Singhdeo raised questions over Mahanadi issue and tribunal formation during the Question Hour today.

Singhdeo said that as per Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, it is mandatory to form a tribunal within one year of approach. Though one year has passed, no tribunal has been formed, he said, asking that why the Centre hasn’t followed its own law and act.

Similarly, Mahatab said that the tribunal hasn’t been formed within a year which is a violation of the act. A commitment was given by the Government in the House for formation of the same, he said.

On the other hand, BJD spokesperson Prashant Nanda ruled out chances of any discussion with the Centre until Chhattisgarh stops construction of barrage on upper catchment areas of Mahanadi.

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