Odisha government will explore all possibilities to resolve Mahanadi row: Pujari

Discussion between the two states is the first option to resolve the issue and the state government will explore this method first.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Suresh Pujari.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Suresh Pujari.File Photo

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government will explore the possibility of resolving the Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh through discussion, said Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Suresh Pujari on Wednesday.

Pujari said the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi river water has dragged on for years. The previous government did not pursue any option seriously to resolve it. Discussion between the two states is the first option to resolve the issue and the state government will explore this method first.

Stating that the previous government did not also seek the assistance of the Centre to find a way out, the minister said a permanent tribunal has been set up to adjudicate the dispute between the two states. “The previous government had not submitted the correct facts and data before the tribunal. Odisha government will place all facts before it soon. The government will pursue all options and resolve the issue as early as possible,” he added.

The dispute between the two states over Mahanadi river water started officially after Odisha government lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Water Resources on November 19, 2016 under section 3 of the lnter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956. The state government requested the Centre to constitute a tribunal under section 4(1) of the ISRWD Act for adjudication of water disputes.

Subsequently, the Centre constituted a negotiation committee for settlement of the dispute. However, the committee submitted its report in May, 2017 in which it stated that any further meeting would not be fruitful as there had been no participation from Odisha. Accordingly, it was concluded that the dispute cannot be resolved by negotiation.

The Centre constituted the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal after a Supreme Court directive in January, 2018. The tribunal completed field visits of the two states in December last year.

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