Constitute Tribunal Within A Month: SC To Centre

Photograph: Suprakash Mishra
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Bhubaneswar: The Centre on Tuesday received a major jolt with the Supreme Court’s direction for formation of a tribunal to settle Mahanadi water dispute within a month.

Hearing the longstanding water sharing issue between Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments, the apex court asked the Centre to start the process of formation of a tribunal at the earliest to resolve the longstanding issue.

On December 11, the court had asked the Ministry of Water Resources to present a report on the formation of a tribunal by the third week of January. The court had also stated that hearing on the case will be conducted on merit basis if the Ministry fails to submit its report within the stipulated time.

Hearing the petition filed by Odisha government seeking formation of tribunal by the Centre to settle the dispute, the court had expressed its dissatisfaction over the Centre for its failure in constituting a tribunal for which Odisha has been demanding for the last one year.

Reiterating its stand, the Centre had said that there is no need of forming a tribunal as the dispute between both the states can be addressed through a joint control board.

Earlier on December 7, the Centre had submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court denying formation of a tribunal. In the affidavit, it had accused the Odisha government of not adducing relevant information required for formation of a tribunal.

Two days after the move, Odisha government had filed a 60-page affidavit before the apex court stating that the Centre has violated the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956. It had earlier committed the decision on setting up a tribunal by November 19 last year but failed to do so.