Major relief for Odisha: SC directs Centre to form Mahanadi Tribunal within one month


Bhubaneswar: Odisha heaved a major sigh of relief after the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Central Government to constitute a tribunal to adjudicate the Mahanadi River water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

An apex court bench comprising of Justices, L Nageswara Rao and Sharad Arvind Bobde conducted the hearing on the inter-state water dispute between the two neighbouring states and directed the Centre to form the Mahanadi tribunal with one month.

Earlier on January 16, the top court had deferred its hearing over the issue due to absence of Justice SA Bobde.

The apex court on December 11 last year had sought a detailed report from the Ministry of Water Resources over the issue by the third week of January failing which the court would hear the case on the basis of merit.

The court had expressed its displeasure over Centre’s negligence in not portraying a clear picture on formation of a tribunal to resolve Mahanadi water dispute between the states.

Notably, Odisha has been reiterating its demand to stop the construction of barrages and other projects led by Chhattisgarh government on the upper catchment areas of Mahanadi River. The State Government had claimed that the construction of barrages would adversely affect the interests of the farmers of Odisha. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had urged the Centre to form a tribunal to resolve the water dispute.

However, instead of formation of the tribunal, the Centre suggested the state to resolve the dispute through negotiations with Chhattisgarh.

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