‘Now, Chhattisgarh river-link bid to get fillip’
The Mahanadi River Waterkeeper has expressed strong concerns over the Central Government’s refusal to form a tribunal for redressal of the Mahanadi inter-State river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Its leader Ranjan Panda said as per law the Centre Government should form the tribunal within a year of the petition from the affected State, which it did not adhere to. And now it claims that the information provided on Mahanadi by the Odisha Government is not sufficient.
“If Odisha’s information is not been found reliable by the Centre, then the normal process is to ascertain the same through a joint technical committee to which Odisha had already given proposal but the Centre and Chhattisgarh never accepted,” said Panda.
The activist sought to know how, without making any effort to make such joint endeavour to assess the water availability in the basin, the Centre can refuse Odisha the right to a tribunal. “We have earlier also pointed out that information provided by both Chhattisgarh as well as the Central Water Commission on Mahanadi is dubious. That’s the reason the formation of tribunal has become more important to start a process where a real and transparent assessment of water availability can be made,” demanded Panda.
He stated that the Central Government’s action is meant to deliberately delay the process of the tribunal formation by disrespecting the existing rule of law to aid the Chhattisgarh’s ongoing and forthcoming plans to divert more water from Mahanadi.
“The Chhattisgarh Government has on December 6 revealed about its plan to link Mahanadi to Tandhula river which will further divert water from the already stressed Mahanadi upstream and will affect Odisha,” informed Panda.
While the Centre is not able to support Odisha’s demand for stoppage of existing constructions before a cumulative impact assessment is done, why the Centre is silent on Chhattisgarh’s new plans? Panda asked and urged Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari to clear the air on formation of tribunal immediately and facilitate dialogue between both the States.
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