Pradeep Pattanayak

In the latest development in the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal on Saturday asked the assessor to convene a meeting with technical teams of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. 

The meeting, scheduled for January 16, will discuss the dispute with respect to the area of Mahanadi basin. 

The date for the next hearing has been fixed for February 8. Earlier the tribunal was apprised of the meeting on October 28, 2022 between the technical teams of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. 

Notably, the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi water distribution began in 2016 when Odisha objected to Chhattisgarh constructing dams and barrages citing that it would significantly reduce the water flow in the downstream in Odisha. The State contended that the dams and barrages would have an adverse impact on the people and industries in Odisha. 
It was when the Chhattisgarh government constructed 12 irrigation projects in the guise of minor irrigation projects that the magnitude of the impact was realized. 

On November 19, 2016, the Odisha government had filed a complaint with the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (now known as Ministry of Jal Shakti) under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act 1956. 
Subsequently, efforts were made to resolve the dispute through negotiation. The Central government constituted a negotiation committee. The Committee in its report in May 2017 mentioned that the dispute can’t be resolved through negotiation as the complainant State Odisha had no participation. Subsequently, Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal was constituted to resolve the dispute.