Bhubaneswar, May 20 (). Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal Chairman Justice A.M. Khanwilkar of the Supreme Court began his field tour in Odisha on Saturday.
According to sources, the tribunal will study the inflow of water into the Mahanadi from neighboring Chhattisgarh and the availability and use of water in the non-monsoon season. The other members of the tribunal are Justices Dr. Ravi Ranjan and Indermeet Kaur Kochhar of the Patna and Delhi High Courts respectively.
On the first day of their visit, the members of the tribunal visited the Hikaru Reservoir and held discussions with the officials of the Government of Odisha. Sources said officials of the state water resources department made a detailed presentation before the tribunal about the reduction in water flow in the Mahanadi river following the construction of barrages and dams by Chhattisgarh.
The team will visit Chiplima Powerhouse, Attabira Branch Canal and Sasan Canal on Sunday. On May 22, the members of the tribunal will visit the IB Thermal Power Station and the dam project site at Jharsuguda and Sundergarh. The tribunal will visit the Upper Jonk dam site in Nuapada district on May 23.
Official sources said the tribunal is scheduled to inspect at least 30 places for the survey and the tour will continue till May 28, after which the members will leave for Delhi from Bhubaneswar.
The tribunal had earlier this month visited the Kalma barrage and Kelo project in Chhattisgarh.
Notably, the Odisha government had a conflict with Chhattisgarh in 2016 after the Chhattisgarh government had significantly reduced water flow in the Mahanadi following the construction of dams and barrages.
On November 19, 2016, Odisha lodged a complaint with the Ministry of Water Resources under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956. There was a meeting between the two states at the CM level, but no conclusion was reached.
The Center subsequently notified the constitution of the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal on March 12, 2018. Since then, the tenure of the tribunal has been extended thrice, including at the latest till December 24, 2024.