Govt to constitute permanent authority for resolution of inter-state river water disputes

The union cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday approved the Inter-State River Water disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which provides for a permanent dispute resolution body for adjudication of disputes over waters of inter-state rivers and river valley thereof.

The bill seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 with a view to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present institutional architecture robust.
Constitution of a single tribunal with different benches along with fixation of strict timelines for adjudication will result expeditious resolution of disputes relating to inter-state rivers. The amendments in the bill will speed up the adjudication of water disputes referred to it. It will further streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes.
“A new tribunal with permanent establishment and permanent office and infrastructure will obviate the need for establishing a separate tribunal for each water dispute, which has been found time-consuming,” an official statement said.
The tribunal is planned in such a manner that all disputes will have to be settled within a timeframe of two years, Prakash Javadekar, minister of information and broadcasting, said after the cabinet meeting.
Javadekar said there are currently nine different tribunals in the country and many of them have been operational for decades. Some of the major water dispute tribunals for allocating river water use by the riparian states are the rivers of Cauvery, Narmada, Godavari and Krishna.
The idea of the single tribunal with different benches is to make the present institutional architecture robust, Javadekar said. The fixation of strict timelines would result in expeditious resolution of disputes relating to inter-state rivers.
At present, when any request is received from any state government in respect of any water dispute on the inter-state rivers, and if the central government is of the opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, it constitutes a water disputes tribunal for the adjudication of the water dispute.