Mahanadi row: Odisha to appeal SC for Tribunal

Bhubaneswar: Ostensibly observing that no legal battle would work in its favour to solve the Mahanadi water use dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh government, the Odisha government has decided to approach the Supreme Court for an amicable settlement.

The decision of the government, contrary to its statement post the tripartite talk with Chhattisgarh government and Centre in New Delhi last month, has not surprised many as it was expected given the fact Odisha didn’t respond to the letters of Chhattisgarh government in the past regarding construction of various water projects on the upper catchment areas of Mahanadi.

However, the State government has now decided that it will urge the apex court to form a tribunal to sort out the issue.

“Mostly in the first or second week of November we will appeal the Supreme Court for the formation of a Tribunal to resolve the matter. We will go to any extent to fight for our rights,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said.
The BJD leader said the State government would appeal before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) about the environmental impacts of the projects being undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government on Mahanadi upper basin.

“We will give details about the projects and their adverse environmental impacts, which the Chhattisgarh government has taken up in the past few years”, Deb stated.

The State government’s decision to approach the apex court has not gone down well with the officials of the neighbouring State, which is allegedly not co-operating with the former about the detailed project report (DPR) of all the ongoing water projects.

“I am clearly stating that the Odisha government will never succeed if it goes the legal way. Because it has no document to counter our claim that we had informed the State before starting the construction works. We have strong evidence on this….They don’t want solution to the issue. They are only politicising the matter…The only solution to this issue is through discussion between two States”, Chhattisgarh Water Resources minister Brijmohan Agarwal told OTV.

Meanwhile the minister’s statement has irked the Opposition leaders who had visited President Pranab Mukherjee earlier this month and requested his intervention in the matter.

“The statement of the minister is quite unfortunate. If the State government fails to protect the interests of the industries in the State, we will seek legal advice on this”, leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said.