The Union government has taken the call of setting up a single committee to hear all the inter-state river water disputes.
The step would merge all existing tribunals into one single body and by doing this, the centre hopes to fasten the process of water dispute resolution. Apart from this central body, the government has also proposed to create some benches to look into disputes as and when required. These benches will not be permanent like the Tribunal and will be dissolved once the dispute is solved.
• The government has proposed the creation of one permanent Tribunal. It will be chaired by a retired judge of the Supreme Court.
• In comparison to earlier tribunals that took very long to deliver the final verdict, this tribunal will be expected to deliver its verdict within three years.
• Apart from this, the government has also proposed to set up a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) comprising experts and policy makers.
• The DRC will be expected to handle the water disputes before they go to the Tribunal.
• The DRC will be formed by the centre at the request of a state. Most disputes will be expected to be solved at the DRC level itself.
• In cases where the state is not satisfied with the DRC judgment, they would be allowed to approach the Tribunal. Tribunal’s verdict will get notified automatically.
The government is proposing to create these committees by amending the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.The decision to amend the act was taken during a Union Cabinet meeting last week. The amendment will most likely be introduced in the Parliament’s next session.
As of now, there are eight Tribunals in the country including those for Cauvery, Ravi and Beas, Mahadayi, Krishna and Vansadhara rivers.