The Hindu Business Line

Single, permanent tribunal soon to decide all inter-State water disputes

Centre also plans Benches to resolve issues


The Centre of Inclusive Growth of TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) organised a one-day workshop for women entreprene­urs in Manipal recently. Welcoming the gathering, Gururaj Kidiyoor, Director in-charge of TAPMI, mentioned the qualities that are required to become a successful entreprene­ur. He shared the experience­s of some students who have become successful entreprene­urs after graduating from TAPMI. The Centre has decided to set up a single, permanent Tribunal to adjudicate all inter-state river water disputes subsuming existing tribunals, a step which is aimed at resolving grievances of states in a speedy manner.

Besides the Tribunal, the government has also proposed to float some Benches by amending the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 to look into disputes, as and when required. Unlike the Tribunal, the Benches will cease to exist once the disputes are resolved.

A decision to approve an

In order to give more teeth to the Tribunal, it is proposed that whenever it gives order, the verdict gets notified automatica­lly.

amendment to the Act was taken at the Union Cabinet meeting held last week. The amendment is likely to be introduced in Parliament in its next session.

Delay in awards

“There will be only one permanent Tribunal with retired Supreme Court judge as its chairperso­n. There will be Benches formed as and when required. The Benches though will be wound up once a dispute is resolved,” Water Resources Ministry Secretary Shashi Shekhar said.

Earlier, Shekhar said, water tribunals “took ages” to deliver final awards in disputes, whereas the proposed Tribunal is expected to deliver its verdict within three years.

Disputes resolution

Along with the Tribunal, the amendment proposes to set up a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC). The DRC, comprising experts and policy-makers, is proposed to handle disputes prior to the Tribunal.

“...whenever a state requests, the Centre will set up a DRC. We expect, most disputes will get resolved at the DRC-level itself. But if a state is not satisfied, it can approach the Tribunal,” he added.

In order to give more teeth to the Tribunal, it is proposed that whenever it gives order, the verdict gets notified automatica­lly. Until now, the government required to notify the awards, causing delay in its implementa­tion.

Eight tribunals now

As per the current provisions of the 1956 Act, a tribunal can be formed after a state government approaches Union government with such request and the Centre is convinced of the need to form the tribunal. At present, there are eight Tribunals including those on Cauvery, Mahadayi, Ravi and Beas, Vansadhara and Krishna rivers.

The present year saw party states like Tamil Nadu and Karntaka (Cauvery basin), GoaKarnata­ka-Maharashtr­a (Mahadayi) and also Odisha and Chhattisga­rh (Mahanadi) sparring over sharing river water.

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