Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal will conduct a field visit on March 15.

According to sources, the technical teams and assessors appointed in connection with the water dispute between Odisha & Chhattisgarh will accompany the tribunal members during the visit.

As per reports, the field visit will continue for a week after which the tribunal will begin recording statement of the witnesses.

The tribunal’s next hearing will be held on March 25.

Lawyer, Jagatjit Singh Chabra said, “Technical teams from both Chhattisgarh and Odisha and the assessors will visit the area. The tribunal can also conduct an aerial survey if required.”

Meanwhile, the tenure of the tribunal is scheduled to end in March this year.

Speaking on the tribunal’s tenure, Chhabra said, “It depends on the concerned States. If they want the tribunal to work for more time, then they can write to the Centre urging the same.”

Earlier on January 7, the tribunal had asked the assessor to convene a meeting with technical teams of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The meeting was scheduled for January 16 and both the teams discussed the dispute with respect to the area of Mahanadi basin.

The dispute 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. 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 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 the Ministry of Jal Shakti) under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act 1956.

(Reported By Sibananda Rout, OTV)