Mahanadi row: Odisha, Chhattisgarh agree on Joint Control Board

New Delhi: After a month-long tussle between Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments over the use of Mahanadi water and construction of a barrage in the upper catchment area of the river, the two States on Friday agreed in a meeting here to set up a Joint Control Board (JCB) to settle the dispute.

The meeting, attended by chief secretaries and concerned officials of the two States, was chaired by Union Water Resources Secretary Sashi Sekhar.

After the meeting, Chhattisgarh chief secretary Vivek Dhand said a JCB would be set up very soon.

“In case of any dispute between the two States, the Board’s decision will be final. In 1983, constitution of such a Board was proposed between the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Arjun Singh and his Odisha counterpart Janaki Ballav Patnaik. The proposed Board will be formed on similar lines,” Dhand said.

The official stressed on information sharing system by the States to minimise any dispute relating to Mahanadi.

“Had we shared information on the usage of Mahanadi water, such a situation would not have arisen. We must exchange information to end disputes at our level,” he said.

Official sources said the catchment area of Mahanadi up to Hirakud dam in Odisha is 82,432 sq.kms, out of which 71,424 sq km lies in Chhattisgarh, which is 86 per cent of the total catchment area. The average inflow of Mahanadi at Hirakud dam is 40,773 million cubic metres (MCM), out of which 35,308 MCM is the share of Chhattisgarh.

Dhand said utilisation of water by Chhattisgarh is about 9,000 MCM, which is only 25 per cent of the available water in the river.

“Both the States should implement such schemes so that the water can be used proportionately and judiciously,” Dhand stated adding Chhattisgarh will co-operate with Odisha to ensure free flow of Mahanadi water throughout the year.