**Bhubaneswar** Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday said a separate tribunal will be formed to resolve Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
“As demanded by the Odisha government, a tribunal will be formed to resolve the Mahanadi water issue under the existing law,” said Pradhan.
It may be recalled that the central government recently decided to form a permanent tribunal to adjudicate on all inter-state water disputes.
“The proposal to form a single tribunal for all inter-state water disputes will be taken up at a later stage,” he added.
Last week, the Union Cabinet approved an amendment to the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 to allow for the setting up of a permanent tribunal to deal with the inter-state water disputes. The government also proposed to float some benches.
But, the Odisha government has filed a petition with the central government for setting up of a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi river water dispute with Chhattisgarh, which has constructed barrages and dams over the river.
The state government opposed the constructions citing that it would affect the interests of the people of Odisha.
“We have already approached the Centre to set up a separate tribunal to resolve the water issue.
“There would be a delay in resolving the dispute if it is taken up by a permanent tribunal. The modalities of the permanent tribunal are yet to be finalised,” said BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb.
Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra in the Odisha Assembly said the Mahanadi water dispute should be resolved by the tribunal under the existing law.