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Central agencies not providing docus to Odisha, Chhattisgarh

KULDEEP SINGH, OP 

New Delhi, Jan 16: Non-cooper-ation of the Central agencies in providing relevant documents to both Odisha and Chhattisgarh has been delaying the Mahanadi river water dispute between the two ri-parian states.

 According to official sources, the Central agen-cies have been maintain-ing an inactive approach towards the dispute. The state of Odisha sought several doc-uments related to Mahanadi basin from Central agencies in August 2020 in order to settle the long pending dispute. The Mahanadi tribunal had also asked the Central agencies to furnish the documents required by both the riparian states.

 Howeveg the officials said, the Central agen-cies have not released the requested documents. The Odisha govern-ment had sought copies of Technical Advisory Committee’s notes on over 23 projects cleared in Mahanadi basin since 1950 namely Mayana Tank, Gej Tank, Dhara Tank and Saroda Tank among others. The state government also sought de-tailed project reports of several projects cleared by the Central Water Commission in Mahanadi basin. The state government has re-quested the Ministry of Jal Shakti 

MAHANADI WATER DISPUTE 

to provide it letter of submissions and sum-mary of recommenda-tions made by advisory commit-tee in 1948 for the Hirakud dam. It also demanded terms of reference, report of advisory committee con-stituted in 1952 on the Hirakud dam project. The state government also requested all Public Accounts Committee Reports on the Hirakud dam except the llth re-port.

 It also pleaded for the project wise detail utilisation in Mahanadi basin. Further Odisha gov-ernment sought envi-ronment clearance re-ports issued to around 35 projects in Mahanadi basin from thelVlinistry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Similarly, the state of Chhattisgarh has requested geo-spatial data from the Indian 

Meteorological department. The statutory tenure of the Mahanadi tribunal even after ex-tension will end in 2023.

 The tribunal was constituted in 2018. The tech-nical and legal teams of both states are aggrieved with the non-coop-eration of the Central agencies, said an official adding that the lack of cooperation from Central agen-cies would lead to inordinate delay.

 Significantly, the three-judge bench of Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal headed by Supreme Court judge Justice AM Khanwilkar Saturday asked Odisha and Chhattisgarh to submit a consolidated list of documents they need from the Central agencies by Monday The tribunal had also observed that common format will be finalised in two weeks. The bench will hear the matter February 6. 

“It’s been almost six months now, the Central agencies haven’t provided the documents sought by both the states,” an official said requesting anonymity 

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