Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government today filed a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court in the matter pertaining to its request for the formation of an interstate tribunal to resolve its dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh over sharing of river Mahanadi water.
The State government’s submission was in response to an affidavit filed by the Centre before the Supreme Court contending that there was no need to constitute a tribunal since Odisha had failed to supply facts and figures or adduce any evidence in support of its claim.
The State government in its 60-page affidavit accused the Centre of providing erroneous information to the apex court while violating the law by not constituting the tribunal.
According to sources privy to the development, the State government in its submission has countered Centre’s argument against the constitution of a tribunal on a point to point basis.
The State government has cited that the Centre initially agreeing to set up a tribunal to resolve the dispute and later expressing unwillingness for the same is in contravention of the provisions of the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act).
The allegation that Odisha has not provided relevant facts to the Centre was not correct, the State government has pointed out in the affidavit while stating that negotiations between the Chief Ministers of the two States had failed.
Moreover, the State government has pointed out that waiting for the adoption of the Bill on the proposed single tribunal for resolution of all river disputes would result in delay, which would defeat the purpose behind constitution of the tribunal on Mahanadi.
“The affidavit filed by the Central government in the Supreme Court is based on false information. We condemn it in the strongest of terms. The State government has filed its counter affidavit,” informed BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Keshari Deb speaking to reporters.
The BJP which has been pushed to a corner in Odisha over the Centre’s stand on the Mahanadi dispute too had no option than welcoming the State government’s move of filing counter affidavit.
“If they are filing a counter affidavit with facts, then it’s a welcome move. But if they are filing a counter without facts then its only politics,” said BJP State unit president Basant Panda in his reactions on the State government filing counter affidavit in the Supreme Court in the Mahanadi water dispute matter.
It is worth mentioning here that the Centre during a hearing on the Mahanadi water dispute on October 9 last had committed before the Supreme Court that a decision with regard to the constitution of a tribunal will be taken before November 19.
Further, then Union Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Balyan while replying to a query by A V Swamy, MP from Odisha had told in the Rajya Sabha on July 31 this year that the draft Cabinet Note on the formation of the tribunal has been prepared.
The next hearing in the matter is slated for December 11.