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Mahanadi Row: Centre’s “No” To Odisha’s “Tribunal” Demand, Files Affidavit In Supreme Court

06 December 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo

Bhubaneswar: Despite Odisha Government’s repeated demand and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s cordial reminders to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for constitution of Tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water sharing dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh, the Centre on Wednesday filed affidavit before the Supreme Court refusing to form the sought-after Tribunal.

In Page No 7, Para XII, of its affidavit sworn before Notary, Government of India, the Centre states, “It is astonishing and astounding that the plaintiff (Odisha Government)is raising the issue of non-supply of data by defendant/Chhattisgarh in the plaint under reply. The plaintiff has not submitted any data till date and frustrated all requests by defendant (Chhattisgarh) to submit its data and carry out adetailed study of water availability in Mahanadi and to provide a list of its projects and agree to constitution of an Expert Committee. It is submitted that the State of Chhattisgarh has fully cooperated with the answering defendant and furnished all the information.”

The Para also states, “It is further submitted that the Mahanadi is an Inter-State River and all the basin States have equal rights to enjoy the benefit of this river and all the basin States have rights to develop water resources for their public needs in accordance with the catchment area, drainage area and the water availability.”

The Centre in the same Page 7, Para XI, has deposed, “It is quite likely that the plaintiff may thwart the legal process before the Tribunal also. It is further submitted that the burden to adduce evidence before the Tribunal also rests with the Complainant State. It is likely that the plaintiff (Odisha) herein will frustrate similar attempts by the Tribunal to come to reasonable conclusion in the matter.”

In his media reactions, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said that the Centre's refusal to form Tribunal for resolving Mahanadi water sharing dispute with Chhattisagrh is unfortunate and the Centre’s allegations against Odisha for not providing required data and information is laughable.