The Union Cabinet Wednesday gave its nod to set up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate all interstate river water disputes, subsuming existing nine, with an aim to resolve grievances of states in a speedy manner.
Briefing reporters on the decisions taken by the Cabinet, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said there are nine tribunals functioning at the moment.
He lamented that it has taken anything from “17 to 27” years to resolve disputes by these tribunals.
Besides the new tribunal, the government has also proposed to float its 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.
As per an earlier bill, a retired Supreme Court judge will head the tribunal. There will be benches formed as and when required. The benches though will be wound up once a dispute is resolve, sources said.
The 2017 bill could not get parliamentary nod.
The tribunal will be mandated to deliver final award in two years, Javadekar said.
In order to give more teeth to the Tribunal, it is proposed that whenever it gives order, the verdict gets notified automatically, the sources said.
As per the current provisions of the 1956 Act, a tribunal can be formed after a state government approaches the Union government with such a request and the Centre is convinced of the need to form the tribunal.
At present, there are nine Tribunals including those on Cauvery, Mahadayi, Ravi and Beas, Vansadhara and Krishna rivers.