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Here’re Political Reactions After Centre’s Mahanadi Tribunal Formation

13 March 2018

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo

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Bhubaneswar: The BJP-led Central Government’s allegedly much-delayed constitution of Tribunal on Monday for solving the ongoing Mahanadi water sharing dispute between the neighbouring states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh, political parties here in the State vented their respective reactions on Tuesday.

In his media reactions, ruling BJD chief-cum-Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “We’ll follow up as we’ve done before for Odisha’s rights.”

However, Odisha BJP unit’s general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan burst, “Till date the Centre was being criticized like anything. It was alleged that the Centre is not forming Tribunal and taking a partial stand for Chhattisgarh.”

“Today Tribunal has been constituted by the Centre. After such a development, we hope that Odisha Government should put forth its arguments properly before the Tribunal. There shouldn’t be any unfortunate repetition of Bansadhara legal defeat,” he complained. He demanded, “Let the Mahanadi water sharing be made in a right manner. The people of Odisha demand to know the arguments to be made before the Mahanadi Tribunal so that the verdict will be in favour of Odisha.”

On the contrary, senior Congress leader and former Odisha PCC president Niranjan Patnaik commented, “It’s of no use as the decision will take two or three or more years. In Kaveri case, decision has been taken by the Tribunal, but it’s not being implemented. Mutual solution was the best. There’s no other alternative. For such a precarious condition, the BJP Government at the Centre is solely responsible.”

Consequently after allegedly much dilly-dallying and in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in favour of Odisha Government, the Centre on Monday constituted 'The Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal'.

In its Notification, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation of Government of India has stated, “In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 4 of the aforesaid Act, the Central Government hereby constitutes a Water Disputes Tribunal called ‘The Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal’, with headquarters at New Delhi for the adjudication of the said dispute consisting of three members nominated in this behalf by the Chief Justice of India.”

As per the Notification, Supreme Court Judge Justice A.M. Khanwilkar has been named as the Chairman of the Tribunal while Patna High Court Judge Dr Justice Ravi Ranjan and Delhi High Court Judge Justice Indermeet Kaur Kochhar have been named as the members of the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal.

Notably, the Government of Odisha had filed an Original Suit No. 1 of 2017 in the Supreme Court and the apex court in its order dated the 23rd January, 2018 has directed the Central Government to constitute a Water Disputes Tribunal.

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Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha

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Prithviraj Harichandan, Spokesperson, BJP, Odisha

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Niranjan Patnaik, Senior Congress Leader, Odisha