Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday again wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
In the letter, Naveen stated that the State Government has filed a complaint on 19 November 2016 under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, seeking formation of a tribunal to adjudicate the dispute.
The Union Ministry of Water Resources, which is the administrative department dealing with the matter, took a clear stand that the water disputes cannot be settled by negotiations and, therefore, a tribunal under the provisions of Section 4(1) of the Act of 1956 is required to be constituted.
Naveen’s letter stated that an identical statement in this regard was made twice by Union Minister of State for Water Resources in the Rajya Sabha on 31 July 2017 and Lok Sabha on 10 August 2017 that “The Ministry concluded that the dispute cannot be resolved by negotiation and it has been decided to constitute a tribunal for adjudication of the dispute. Draft Cabinet Note in this regard has been prepared.”
The counsel appearing for the Union Government also assured before the Supreme Court on 09 October 2017 that a notification would be issued before 19 November 2017 for constituting a tribunal.
However, to the utter surprise of the people of Odisha for whom the Mahanadi is a lifeline, the Union Ministry of Water Resources filed a written statement in the SC on 4 December 2017 changing its stand completely by stating that the tribunal cannot be constituted.