Saswat Singhdeo

New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar: The Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal today concluded the hearing on the interim application filed by Odisha government pleading for release of 1.74 million acre-foot water by Chhattisgarh during non-monsoon months.

A 3-judge bench comprising chairperson AM Khanwilkar, Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Indermit Kaur directed both the Chhattisgarh and Odisha governments to file a written submission in two weeks.

While the bench will pronounce the judgement on March 9, it has given an option to both the states to find an amicable solution to the issue.

“If parties are not ready for amicable solution, we will pronounce judgement on March 9,” the bench observed.

"Court has suggested both the sides to find an amicable solution. On March 9, court will conduct the next hearing on the issue," Chhattisgarh government's counsel said.

Odisha government's counsel Radheshyam Jena said, "Court will give the final order if both sides don't find a solution."

Last month, in its affidavit, Odisha had highlighted the impact during monsoon and non-monsoon periods due to the construction of barrages by Chhattisgarh on the upper catchment areas of Mahanadi. According to sources, till January 1, Chhattisgarh had collected 4.32 MAF (million acre-feet) water through 11 major projects which is more than the required quantity. Besides, Chhattisgarh has stored 1.78 million acre-feet water through several other medium and minor projects constructed on the upper catchment areas.

Earlier, the Tribunal had directed the Odisha government to submit an affidavit based on its petition filed seeking a stay on the construction of barrages by neighbouring Chhattisgarh.