Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

At a time when drying up of Mahanadi River has triggered a major concern among the people of Odisha, the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal undertook a field visit to the Hirakud dam in Sambalpur district on Saturday.

As per reports, the tribunal is studying the situation on the ground amid the ongoing dispute between the Chhattisgarh and Odisha governments over the water of Mahanadi River.

The tribunal is headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar of the Supreme Court while Justices Dr Ravi Ranjan and Indermeet Kaur Kochhar of Patna and Delhi High Courts respectively are its members. The Centre had constituted the three-member Tribunal in 2018.

Apart from the members of the Tribunal, officials of the Water Resources Departments, technical teams and law experts from both Odisha and Chhattisgarh are part of the team who have visited Sambalpur to take stock of the dam and conduct a detailed study.

As per sources, the team will visit Chiplima Powerhouse, Attabira Branch Canal and Sasan Canal tomorrow. On May 22, the team will further visit Ib Thermal Power Station and dam project site in Jharsuguda and Sundargarh. On the following day, the tribunal will visit Upper Jonk dam site in Nuapada district.

Earlier this month, the tribunal had visited the Kalma Barrage and Kelo project in Chhattisgarh.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Chhattisgarh government opened 17 gates of Kalma Barrage just ahead of the tribunal’s field visit. As per sources, the move from Chhattisgarh was aimed at misleading the tribunal by portraying fair sharing of Mahanadi water.

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