BJD opposes single tribunal for inter-state water disputes

Bhubaneswar/ New Delhi: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and several other opposition parties today opposed the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which was introduced in Lok Sabha on Thursday.

The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes.

Raising the issue, BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahatab said, BJD is not questioning the intent of the Bill, but whether the States were consulted on the issue?

“As water is a State subject, thus, respective stakeholders which are the State governments need to be consulted before preparation of this Bill. We are not questioning the intent of the Bill. There are many Tribunals which are not functioning as per our liking or lot of time is wasted to give a decision. The question here is whether the State governments have been consulted when a decision was taken to form a specific Single Tribunal to deal with all river water disputes,” said Mahatab in Lok Sabha.

Mahatab further stated that it is ditto of the bill which was presented in 2017 and hence, he opposes the introduction of the bill.

Earlier Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had said that the States were consulted and a similar bill was brought to Lok Sabha in 2017. The bill was then referred to the standing committee, but the draft law lapsed as the term of the 16th Lok Sabha ended.