Mahanadi Tribunal Hearing: Odisha Govt Forms Legal Committee

Bhubaneswar: With the newly-formed Mahanadi Tribunal scheduled to hear the ongoing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh on sharing of Mahanadi water on September 29, the Odisha government has initiated the process to strongly place its argument before it.

Sources said the state government has formed a five-member legal committee comprising senior lawyers of the Supreme Court, having experience in dealing with cases relating to inter-state river water disputes.

The five members of the legal committee are Mohan B Chatterjee and Mahesh Agrawal, Radheshyam Jena (presently dealing with Polavaram and Bansadhara cases), Dr Anindita Pujari and Ranbir Singh.

Apart from the legal committee, the state government has also started consulting the technical experts including former hydrologists of the Central Water Commission (CWC), senior Professors of Hydrology of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and former Hydrologists of the Roorkee-based National Institute of Hydrology.

Besides, talks are on with the overseas hydrologists to seek their expert opinion.

Official sources said that before the scheduled hearing, the state government will submit a 500-page interim application to the Mahanadi Tribunal.

Following orders of the Supreme Court on January 23 this year, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation had formed a three-member Mahanadi Tribunal on March 12 in line with the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956, to set aside the Mahanadi river water sharing disputes between Odisha and Chhattisgarh following the approval by the Union Cabinet.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has nominated Justice AM Khanwilkar of the apex court as the chairman and Dr Justice Ravi Ranjan of the Patna High Court and Justice Indermeet Kaur Kochhar of the Delhi High Court are the other two members of the Tribunal.

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