Mahanadi Tribunal Asks Odisha, Chhattisgarh To Hold Another Round Of Meetings

New Delhi: The Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal, which was scheduled to give its verdict on sharing of river waters between Odisha and Chhatisgarh on Saturday, deferred the date of the verdict to March 30 and asked the two state governments to hold another round of meetings to arrive at an amicable solution.

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The three-member bench of Tribunal chairperson Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Indermit Kaur directed the advocate generals of both states to resolve the issue and submit a report before March 30.

The Tribunal will give its verdict on the basis of the Odisha government’s interim application.

The Tribunal had on February 9 directed Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments to amicably resolve the water-sharing row. While hearing the interim application of the Odisha government, the three-member bench of Tribunal chairperson Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Indermit Kaur had directed both states to file a written submission in two weeks.

The bench had made it clear that if the two states do not arrive at an amicable solution, it will pronounce its final judgment at the next hearing on March 9.

Acting on the directive of the Tribunal, both the states held two meetings, on February 25 and 26. However, the meeting remained inconclusive.

In its interim application to the Tribunal, Odisha government had demanded the release of 1.74 million acre-feet of water by Chhattisgarh during the non-monsoon season.

The state government had, through an affidavit, contended that as per the tripartite agreement on Mahanadi water-sharing between Odisha, Chhattisgarh and the Centre, Chhattisgarh should release 1.74 million acre-feet of water to Odisha during the non-monsoon season. But till January 1, 2019, the neighbouring state had blocked 2.76 million acre-feet through six barrages it has built on the Mahanadi’s upstream.

The Tribunal, while hearing Odisha government’s interim petition on December 15, had sought, through an affidavit, details on the volume of rainwater flow into the Mahanadi in the last 20 years within two weeks.

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