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Mahanadi row: Special tribunal waiting for cabinet approval says Civil society body

Bhubaneswar: At a time when the Supreme Court has set the ball rolling on inter-state Mahanadi water sharing dispute, Agami Odisha, a civil society forum fighting for protection of Odisha’s interests under the banner of Mahanadi Banchao Andolan said `a special tribunal on the row awaits Union Cabinet approval.

Speaking to mediapersons on arrival here after staging a five-day satyagraha on Mahanadi issue in New Delhi, advisor of Agami Odisha, Lalit Mohan Patnaik said the Union Government which was earlier in favour of setting up a conglomerate tribunal for resolving all inter-state river disputes is now mulling to set up a special tribunal on Mahanadi row as Cabinet decision is awaiting.

“We pressed the issue so much that it was discussed in the Parliament. The other  aspect of our success is that Odia people have learnt how to raise demands on a national level. Now this has become a civil society movement as we look forward to take the issue to every doorstep in Odisha to make people aware,” Patnaik added.

Civil society forums from Odisha like Agami Odisha, Odisha Nadi Suraksha Sammukhya successfully organised protests for over five days from August 8 to 13 near Jantar Mantar, the Parliament and reinforced the state’s pressing demands for judicious use of the river water.

Last month, the Calcutta bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed Chhattisgarh Government not to initiate construction works of 31 projects over the Mahanadi including six major projects that are yet to begin. Earlier this month a senior official of Union Government also pointed out that the Centre is likely to set up a tribunal on the row.

The apex court had made a hearing on the issue earlier on August 2 during which both Odisha and Chhatisgarh presented their sides.

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