BHUBANESWAR: Odisha government has urged the Centre to take immediate steps for setting up a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh. "We have urged the Centre to set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute immediately as delay may severely affect Odisha's interest," Chief Secretary A P Padhi told reporters here today. Padhi, in a letter to Amarjit Singh, Secretary, Water Resources, has pointed out that "the water disputes in respect of inter state river Mahanadi and its valley cannot be resolved by negotiations."
Though the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) had set up a Negotiation Committee on Mahanadi river for sorting out the disputes between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, it has not yielded any result. Chhattisgarh government has rejected Odisha government's proposal to stop construction of projects on the upstream of Mahanadi before any discussion on the dispute, Padhi pointed out in the letter.
"This was the demand of the Odisha government to windup the Negotiation Committee," he said adding, Odisha is against construction of barrages on the upstream of Mahanadi river as these will affect the interests of farmers.
Citing Chhattisgarh's unilateral activities, Padhi said recently the Chhattisgarh government had opened 46 gates of Kalma barrage without informing the Odisha Government. The state government had vehemently opposed the move and brought the matter to the notice of Central Water Commission (CWC), he said.
Stating that Mahanadi river is the life line for the people of Odisha, Padhi said any further delay in constitution of an adjudicatory mechanism will give unfair advantage to the upper riparian state of Chhattisgarh and also adversely affect rights and interests in Odisha.