Odisha, Chhattisgarh Discuss Mahanadi Water Row In Supreme Court

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New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: To resolve the row over the sharing of Mahanadi river water, a meeting between Odisha and Chhattisgarh began in the Supreme Court here on Monday.

Present at the meeting, senior engineers, lawyers and secretaries of both the governments will discuss release of non-monsoon water to Odisha.

Advocate General of Odisha Surya Mishra said the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal has requested the officials of Odisha and Chhattisgarh to find an amicable solution to end the protracted row over the sharing of the river water before the final hearing. “If a solution is reached, an interim arrangement could be made before the onset of the monsoon so that both the states benefit,” he observed.

Commenting on the issue, retired engineer-in-chief, Water Resources, Ramesh Tripathy, said the meeting will focus on how much water the Chhattisgarh government is going to release technically during the summer, how it will regulate the floodwater during the monsoon and where the volume of the river water would be measured.

Notably, the Tribunal on February 9 this year had directed Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments to amicably resolve the water sharing row.

The three-member bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar (Chairperson of the Tribunal), Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Indermit Kaur, while hearing the interim application of the Odisha government, directed both the states to file a written submission in two weeks.

The bench made it clear that if the two states are not willing for an amicable solution to the issue, it will pronounce its final judgment during the next hearing on March 9.

The Odisha government, in its interim application to the Tribunal, had demanded the release of 1.74 million acre-feet water by Chhattisgarh during the non-monsoon season.

The state government, through an affidavit, had contended that as per the tripartite agreement on Mahanadi water sharing between Odisha, Chhattisgarh and the Centre, Chhattisgarh should release 1.74 million acre-feet of water to Odisha during the non-monsoon season. But till January 1, 2019, the neighbouring state had blocked 2.76 million acre-feet with the six barrages it had built on the upstream of Mahanadi.

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