Mahanadi River Current Affairs - 2019
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The Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has constituted Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal for adjudication of longstanding disputes between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over sharing of Mahanadi river water. The tribunal was formed under Section 4 of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 following directives of Supreme Court on January 2018.
Composition: The tribunal will have three members. Chief Justice of India (CJI) has nominated Supreme Court Judge A M Khanwilkar as chairman of Tribunal. The two other members are Justice Ravi Ranjan of Patna High Court and Jusitce Indwermeet Kaur Kochar of Delhi High Court. It will be provided with services of two assessors who are water resources experts having experience in handling sensitive water-related issues.
Mandate: The tribunal will determine water sharing among basin States on basis of overall availability of water in complete Mahanadi basin, contribution and present utilisation of water resources in each state and potential for future development.
Term: The tribunal will be headquartered in New Delhi. It is required to submit its report and decision within three years which can be extended to maximum two years due to unavoidable reasons.
Since mid-80s, Odisha and Chhattisgarh are locked in dispute over sharing of water of Mahanadi River. Odisha has claimed that Chhattisgarh government has been constructing dams in upper reaches of Mahanadi, depriving its farmers who are heavily dependent on river water. Odisha Government had moved to Supreme Court in 2016 seeking direction to Chhattisgarh Government to stop all construction of barrages and dams on upper stream of river. Following the apex court order, Union Cabinet in February 2018 had approved proposal to constitute tribunal.
The Union Ministry of Water Resources has constituted negotiations committee to assess availability and utilisation of waters of Mahanadi and its tributaries to resolve disputes over sharing of river waters among five states. These five states are Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.
The committee will be chaired by member (water planning and projects) of the Central Water Commission (CWC). It will have 11 other members comprising representatives from the state governments.
- The committee will also examine existing water sharing agreements on river Mahanadi and will consider claims of the 5 states regarding availability and utilisation of waters of these rivers.
- It has been set up with reference to complaint of State of Odisha under section 3 of the ISRWD Act, 1956 regarding utilisation of waters of Mahandi Basin.
- It will also have member representatives of Union Ministries of Agriculture, Environment, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India Meteorological Department and CWC.