The Odisha government had filed a statutory complaint with the Centre on November 19, 2016 under the Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 urging it to constitute a water dispute tribunal. It wants the CWC and Chhattisgarh to understand that water flow in Mahanadi should not be allowed to dry and the water flow during the flood time should be effectively regulated.
Mahanadi water dispute has once again taken the center-stage with chief minister Naveen Patnaik urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite the process to set up a tribunal to settle the water sharing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.“I strongly urge your goodself to expedite the issuance of notification for constitution of tribunal. The delay in constituting the tribunal has been taken advantage of by the state of Chhattisgarh which is going ahead with the construction works of six barrages on Mahanadi river, which is likely to prejudicially affect the interests of Odisha and its inhabitants, during non-monsoon period,” Naveen said in the letter. The chief minister, who has been raising the issue consistently, also cited the Supreme Court’s directive of October 9 in which it was clearly mentioned that a notification on formation of a tribunal should be issued by November 19. The directive had been issued following a petition in the court by Odisha government.
The state government had also filed a statutory complaint with the Centre on November 19, 2016 under the Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 urging it to constitute a water dispute tribunal. On July 25 last Odisha, Chhatisgarh and the Centre had presented their views before the apex court which was considering the petition of Odisha which had sought the court’s intervention to direct the neighbouring state to stop project works in the upstream of Mahanadi and the Centre to form a tribunal to adjudicate the matter. In fact in the last few years Odisha has upped the ante on the issue pressing the demand for the tribunal since Chhattisgarh government has been unilaterally constructing barrages on the river which is the lifeline of Odisha. This was done keeping in mind the needs of people of the state and also the political sparring over the issue.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier also raised the issue with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded a tribunal. Naveen had pointed out how Chhattisgarh while opposing the formation of a tribunal had gone ahead and erected the gates of Kalma barrage and then closed the same blocking the free flow of water to Odisha.
A senior BJD leader said “We are fighting on the issue in many ways. First is the legal dimension seeking a tribunal to adjudicate the case. At the same time, we also want Central Water Commission (CWC) and Chhattiisgarh to understand that water flow in Mahanadi during the lean period should be maintained and it should not be allowed to become a dry river. The water release during the flood time should be effectively regulated.” pp-nov16-30-17