SAMBALPUR: We are happy to note that Rajya Sabha (RS) Members of Parliament (MPs) of Odisha ensured a debate on the Mahanadi river water dispute in the RS today. Good that many of the participants in the debate, cutting across party lines, urged both Chhattisgarh and Odisha to resolve the matter through proper dialogues. “That is exactly what we have been urging to both the governments through our just jaunched ‘Mahanadi River Basin Peace Building Initiative,” said Ranjan Panda, Mahanadi River Waterkeeper.
It was observed from the debates that there are many ambiguities and misinformation that still exist on this issue. It seems neither the Chhattisgarh government nor the Odisha government have got the complete information with regard to utilisation of Mahanadi water for various purposes. Chhattisgarh especially has not shared informatoin on various dam and barrage projects it has taken up upstream that have the potential to impact Mahanadi water flow.
“It is therefore important to set up a joint technical committee with mediation of the central government and help of independent groups to collect, compile and analyse all the data and then come out with a detailed white paper on water availability and use in the river basin,” said Panda.
“Chhattisgarh should agree to stop all existing constructions regarding which Odisha has no information or has not given consent till such a status paper is ready,” urged he further.
“The Minister of State for Water Resources admitted that some projects have been constructed by Chhattisgarh during the last two years without approval of the CWC. That speaks about how we need a strong mechanism between states to jointly monitor projects. Both the states should immediately start such a negotiated mechanism through a dialogue,” demanded Panda.
“The MPs in RS also echoed our concerns regarding the Inter-State Water Disputes Act 1956. This Act has been insufficient to play an effective role in providing solutions to disputes such as the current one and thus has failed in ensuring cooperative federalism. The country needs to revisit this Act and revise it after ample public consultations,” urged Panda.