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Timeline to resolve inter-state water disputes to be set: Govt

New Delhi: In a bid to resolve river water disputes within a specified period, government is considering a proposal to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act to streamline the adjudication of disputes by constituting a Tribunal which would resolve them within a time-frame.

Replying to supplementaries in the Rajya Sabha, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said this has been an issue that has agitated the country and all are aware of the widespread concern over the time taken by various Tribunals in giving their verdict.

Observing that the existing Act does not fix any time limit for resolving river water disputes, he said the Cauvery Water Tribunal has taken 26 years and three months and the matter is still pending before the Supreme Court.

“We are now proposing under the new Act to bring all these pending disputes under a Tribunal which will have a defined time frame…Whereby the Tribunal will give its report in four and a half years upto submission of final report,” he said, adding that this is applicable for the Cauvery Tribunal.

Pointing out that some members of such Tribunals are over 90 years old, he said “what we are also proposing is that we are suggesting to create a national Tribunal which will have a defined age for its members.”

Goyal also said “We have set for the first time a time limit for dispute redressal committees to give their report within 12 months, which is extendable by a maximum of six months. There was no time limit in the original process.”

Asked specifically about members of the Cauvery Tribunal, he said it has no chairman for last several years and both members are above 70 years of age.

“Whatever work the Tribunals have done, the new Tribunals will take the work further. It is not that the new Tribunal will restart the work from the beginning. Cauvery Tribunal issue will not have to go to a new dispute resolution committee. It will go straight to the new Tribunal,” he said.

“Since there is no finality on this matter, the government has to now go by the Supreme Court ruling that has come recently and the Cauvery Tribunal issue will be taken up by Supreme Court on February 7,” the Minister said.

In the written reply to the question, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said “In the proposed amendment, there is a provision for establishment of a Dispute Resolution Committee by the central government, consisting of members from such relevant fields as deemed fit, for resolving amicably the inter-state water disputes.”

She also said that the proposal of amending the Act has been accepted by most states and apprehensions raised by some of them have been addressed in the proposed Bill.

Source: Zee News