Submit Report On Mahanadi Tribunal Formation By January Third Week: SC To Centre

Bhubaneswar: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to submit a
report on the formation of a tribunal over Mahanadi dispute by the third
week of January.

According to the apex court, if the centre fails to submit its report
within the stipulated time, next hearing on the case will be done on
merit basis in January third week.

Hearing a petition filed by Odisha government seeking formation of
tribunal by the Centre to settle the Mahanadi water sharing dispute
with Chhattisgarh, the apex court expressed dissatisfaction over the
Central Government for its failure in constituting a tribunal for
which Odisha has been demanding for the last one year.

Reiterating its stand, the Centre stated that there is no need of
forming a tribunal as the dispute between both the governments can be
sorted out through a joint control board.

On December 7, the Centre had submitted an affidavit before the
Supreme Court denying formation of a tribunal. In the affidavit, it
had accused the Odisha government for not adducing relevant
information required for formation of a tribunal.

Two day after such move, Odisha government also filed a 60-page
affidavit before the apex court stating that the Centre has violated
the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956. It had earlier committed the
decision on setting up a tribunal would be taken by November 19 but
failed to do so.
“The Mahanadi matter in Supreme Court has been deferred for hearing in
January next year. This indicates that the tribunal will not be
constituted under the present Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 but
in the proposed amended Act, the bill of which will be taken up in the
upcoming winter session of Parliament. Under the amended Act,the
Mahanadi Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) may be formed to resolve
the present crisis pertaining to Mahanadi. But Mahanadi Bachao Andolan
(MBA) feels that this will further delay the process and deepen the
crisis over Mahanadi issue”, convenor Sudarshan Das said.

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