Uproar in Odisha Assembly over Mahanadi dispute

7 Dec 2017

The Odisha Assembly today witnessed repeated adjournments as members of three major political parties engaged in a war of words over Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh. Opposition Congress MLAs rushed to the well and shouted slogans against the central and state governments for not setting up a tribunal to resolve the dispute. The ruling BJD MLAs also joined the frenzy and raised slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP members, on the other hand, blamed the ruling party for the stalemate.
The central government, through an affidavit in the Supreme Court, has said the Odisha government did not provide required information in the matter. Hence, there is no need to constitute a tribunal, said BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo. Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra alleged that the Centre has betrayed the people of Odisha by denying them a tribunal.
"As per the Constitutional guidelines, a tribunal should be formed to resolve water dispute between two states. This is one of the biggest violations of law," Mishra said. Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat was unable to run the House amid the noisy scenes and adjourned the sessions several times in the day. The state was not serious about the Mahanadi issue, the BJP MLAs maintained. "We have been demanding a White Paper on Mahanadi water dispute, but the state failed to provide one with proper data," BJP MLA Pradeep Purohit said. The state government chief whip Amar Prasad Satpathy countered the BJP's allegations and said the Centre's betrayal came to the fore when it moved Supreme Court with the affidavit. When a state applies for a tribunal, the Centre is bound to constitute it under the Inter State River Water (ISRW) Disputes Act, 1956, he said.
"In case of Odisha, the Centre acted with an ill intention to help completion of projects by the Chhattisgarh government," Satpathy alleged. The Odisha government had written to the Centre for constitution of an inter-state tribunal under section 3 of the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) to resolve the Mahanadi water sharing dispute between Chhattisgarh and Odisha. (PTI)