Bhubaneswar: With the Union Government on Sunday deciding to set up a permanent and single tribunal for settling all river water disputes in the country, Petroleum Minister Dharmedra Pradhan earlier today confirmed that a special tribunal will be formed for solving out Mahanadi water crisis arising between Odisha and Chhatisgarh.
With the neighbour state Chhatisgarh continuing water projects on upstream Mahanadi Odisha has been opposing the same for over last few months. Tripartite inter-ministerial meeting between both states and Centre has been unable to solve out the row. Meanwhile the state has decided to move Supreme Court in that matter and had asked Centre to form a special tribunal for Mahanadi issue.
Earlier on Sunday, the Centre announced that all existing tribunals will be included and merged into one permanent tribunal which will cater to the needs of all water disputes. Some temporary regional benches called Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) s will also be set up for settling disputes and will cease to function once they are solved. An amendment to the Inter-state Water Disputes Act 1956 will be after which these reforms would be made, government sources said.
A retired Supreme Court Judge will head the tribunal as its chairperson and will ensure verdicts in a span of three years.
The process goes like this. Once a river dispute is formed a state approaches the centre and when that happens the Union Government sets up a DRC for handling the disputes therein itself. The DRC which comprises experts, policy makers will try to solve the disputes but if the state is not satisfied then it can approach the tribunal.
Presently there is eight such water tribunals in the country catering to the disputes sparring between states like Tamil Nadu-Karnataka for Cauvery River, Goa- Karnataka-Maharashtra for Mahadayi River, Odisha-Chhattisgarh for Mahanadi River.