By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, December 6, 2017: In what appears to be a shocking news for the Naveen Patnaik led government, the Narednra Modi led NDA government on Wednesday virtually refused to constitute an inter-state tribunal in the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over sharing of river Mahanadi water.

In a submission before the Supreme Court made through an affidavit, the Centre shifted the blame on Odisha government for failing to provide relevant facts and figures required for constitution of such tribunal despite several attempts by it to seek those.

However, the Centre has proposed that the matter can be resolved through negotiation.

“For formation of tribunal or for any negotiation you have to cooperate and provide facts and figures as well. Despite several attempts, Central government is yet to get facts and figures on the basis of which negotiation can be held. This matter can be also mutually resolved through negotiation. Unless you provide facts and figures on what is your total crop requirement, water requirement and basin area what is the tribunal going to do? Certain materials are required for constituting a tribunal but Central government is yet to get that. So how can Central government constitute the tribunal?” queried Central government’s defence counsel Wasim A Kadri.

However, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha has blamed the Centre for its stand on Mahanadi. BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP made it clear that during a hearing in the Supreme Court, the Central government had then said that the tribunal will be constituted by November 19.

“Why had it kept mum? Couldn’t it tell at that time that the Odisha government has not provided facts and figures and that’s why the tribunal has not been constituted? This is an attempt to shift the blame from itself and put it on the State government. It is nothing other than helping BJP’s Raman Singh government in Chhattisgarh,” Deb added.

The BJP legislature party leader here K V Singdeo however, slammed the State government for not being serious on any matter. “The grounds cited by it for referring to a tribunal were insufficient. Can a tribunal formed on the basis of an 800-page document solve the issue?”

The Odisha Assembly too witnessed a heated debate on a motion over Mahanadi issue moved by the ruling BJD. BJD members lambasted both Chhattisgarh and Centre over the issue.

Government Chief Whip Amar Prasad Satpathy said, “Environment impact assessment authority of Chhattisgarh too has said that these barrages have been constructed illegally. As a consequence of which water flow will decrease by 33-78 percent in the non-monsoon period which will affect our lives and livelihoods.”

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