Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal to Undertake Field Visit on March 15

Cuttack: The Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal will go on a field trip on March 15.

The technical teams and assessors chosen to help resolve the water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh will travel with the tribunal members, according to sources.

The field visit would last for a week before the tribunal starts recording the witness statements.

The tribunal’s next hearing will be held on March 25.

Technical teams from Chhattisgarh and Odisha, as well as assessors, will visit the area, according to lawyer Jagatjit Singh Chabra. If necessary, the tribunal may also perform an airborne survey.

In the meantime, the tribunal’s term is set to expire in March of this year.

Chhabra stated that the duration of the panel “depends on involved States. They can write to the Center and request that the tribunal continue to operate for longer if they so desire.

The tribunal had earlier on January 7 requested that the assessor call a meeting of the technical teams from Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Both sides discussed the disagreement on the territory of the Mahanadi basin at the meeting, which was set for January 16.

The controversy over Mahanadi water distribution started when Odisha opposed Chhattisgarh building dams and barrages, claiming that it would severely restrict the water flow in downstream. The State argued that the barrages and dams will negatively affect Odisha’s economy and population.

The size of the impact was only apparent after the Chhattisgarh government built 12 projects under the pretence of small irrigation projects.

The Odisha government filed a complaint with the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation (now known as the Ministry of Jal Shakti) under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act 1956 on November 19, 2016.

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