Minutes of the meeting of Chief Ministers of Odisha and Chhatisgarh held under the Chairpersonship of Union Minister for Water Resources, RD & GR to consider various water resources issues in Mahanadi Basin on 17.9.2016 at 12.00 noon at Shram Shakti Bhawan, New Delhi
Just after tripartite meeting, RTI Application was submitted on 19.9.16 to Dept. of Water Resources, Govt. of Odisha seeking the following information
vi. Provide copy of the documents which was presented in tripartite meeting for discussion with Chhatisgarh Govt. facilitated by Uma Bharati, Minister for Water resources.
vii. Provide information about details of outcome of the tripartite meeting and copy of press release given by Chief Minister.
Similarly, on dated 26.9.16, RTI Application was filed to Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. of India seeking the following information
1. Provide copy of the proceedings of the meeting on Mahanadi water dispute issue between Odisha and Chhatisgarh held on 17.9.16.
2. Provide copy of the documents like memorandum or any letter presented by Govt. of Odisha to Central Govt. on Mahanadi Water dispute from July to Sept. 2016.
3. Provide copy of the document, if any presented by the representative of Govt. of Odisha in the meeting held under Chairmanship of Minister for Water Resources on 17.9.16.
While the PIO, Dept. of Water Resources denied to provide me the information, the CPIO, Ministry of Water Resources, Govt. of India provided the proceedings of the tripartite meeting on 2nd Dec. 16. It was also found from the letter of Central Water commission that the said report has been shared with State Govt. Despite availability of information, PIO, Dept. of Water Resources, Govt. of Odisha kept the information secret.
Extract from the Proceedings of the meeting is as follows.
An inter-state Meeting was held on 17.9.16 under the chairmanship of Shushri Uma Bharati, Hon’ble Union Minister, Ministry of Water Resources, RD &GR with Sri Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha and Dr. Raman Singh, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Chhatisgarh to consider various water resources issues in Mahanadi basin. The meeting was attended by Shri Brij Mohan Agrawal, Hon’ble Minister Water Resoures, Chhatisgarh , Shri Debi Prasad Mishra, Hon’ble Minister Industries , S & ME Odisha, Shri Pushpendra Singhdeo, Hon’ble Minister H&UD, Odisha , senior officers of both the states , MOWR and Central Water Commission ( CWC).
At the outset, the Hon’ble Union Minister welcomed the participants. She directed the officers of the MOWR to present the water scenario in the Mahanadi basin followed by presentation by two states. Initiating the discussions, Dr. Anarjit Singh , Officer on Special Duty, told about the decisions taken in the Chief Secretary- level inter-state meeting on 29.7.2016 and stated that both the states had agreed to share the data related to water resources projects. He also stressed the need for establishment of Joint-Control Board. Thereafter, Director-Hydrology, CWC made the presentation about water scenario in Mahanadi basin. He explained the state-wise details of the drainage areas in the Mahanadi basin , major water resources, distribution of catchment area, structures and projects, The 29 year data of run-off observed at the three terminal sites of CWC upstream of Hirakud Dam both during monsoon and non-monsoon did not show any downward trend. Further, the annual inflows to Hirakud dam both during monsoon and non-monsoon for the last 29 years also did not show any decreasing trend.
This was followed by Presentations by Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhatisgarh who gave an overview of the comparative status of water resources in Chhatisgarh and Odisha , river basis i Chhatisgarh , drainage and inflow profile and analysis of Mahanadi Basin and at Hirakud Dam. He also touched upon the various ways in which Govt. of Odisha is utilising the Hirakud waters, highlighting the change in scope of the original intent in this project. With regard to six barrages which are under construction on Mahanadi ( namely samoda, Sheorinarayan, Basantpur, Mironi, Saradih and Kalma) , he stated that these are minor structures and no diverse weirs. These six barrages have no canals and as such they will store only monsoon water. Proposed aggregate irrigation area from all six barrages is 3,149 hectares through pumps. Since each project individually has less that 2,000 hectares irrigation potential, hence each of them falls under Minor Irrigation Project category. Storage capacity of all these barrages taken together is only 274 MCM. Total industrial use in non-monsoon season will be only 552 MCM. Thus, utilisation from non-monsson flow will only be ( 552-274) 288 MCM, whereas, average non-monsoon flow at Hirakud is 4446 MCM. He reiterated the position of Chhatisgarh that a Joint Control Board may be constituted as per agreement between erstwhile undivided state of Madhya Pradesh and the state of Odisha dated 28.4.1983. to look ito the complete range of the issues in Mahanadi basin. He requested for establishment of CWC gauging station immediate upstream of Hirakud at the inter-state border on Mahanadi, Kelo and Mad rivers to monitor exact flow of monsoon ad non-monsoon. The Chief Secretary, Chhatisgarh also presented a list of projects undertaken by Odisha , downstream of Mahanadi in which the Govt. of Odisha did not consult the upper riparian state.
The Principal Secretary ( Irrigation ) , Odisha in his presentation after explaining the profile of Mahanadi basin , elaborated that in its original intent, the scope of Hirakud Dam included flood control, irrigation, power, transport and domestic use. He stated that non-monsoon inflow in Hirakud dam, during the last 13 years, has shown a downward trend. He expressed apprehension that the under construction projects in Chhatisgarh will adversely affect the future flows downstream in Odisha. He referred to some unauthorised constructions especially projects of Chhatsigarh considered by CWC with respect to which they had not received any information. The six barrages mentioned by Chhatisgarh were in his opinion industrial barrages , with storage potential of 829 MCM of water even during non-monsoon season.
The Development Commissioner, Odisha briefed the house about fragile ecology of coastal areas and Mahanadi flood plains. He pleaded that a high level Inter-disciplinary Expert Committee may be constituted comprising members from both the states , water experts, a long with members from Central Ministers to look into the comprehensive water and environmental issues in the Mahanadi basin.
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha desired that work on all ongoing projects in Mahanadi basin in Chhatisgarh state should be stopped for three months and an expert Committee may be formed to study the impact of projects in Mahanadi basin and give its report within three months.
Hon’ble CM of Chhatisgarh said that 57% of Mahanadi water is flowing to sea without any use in basin. The Mahanadi river has sufficient water to meet the requirements of both the states. He desired that they should agree to form Joint Control Board as mentioned in 1983 agreement. Further, Govt. of Chhatisgarh stated that most of the ongoing projects were started 10 years back and they are in their final stages of completion. Hence, it is not possible to stop the construction work on these projects.
Hon’ble Union Minister stated that since water is in the state list of the constitution, the Union Govt. has no authority to intervene in the state subject. However, the Union Govt. can facilitate the state Governments to resolve inter-state issues , if required.
After detailed discussions on various issues following decisions were taken in the meeting.
i. Special Committee under chairmanship of Dr. Amrajit Singh, ( OSD) will be formed. The committee will list out the water resources projects in Odisha and Chhatisgarh those have been constructed or under construction without approval of Techical Advisory Committee ( TAC) of MoWR. Different Teams will be sent to these states for this work. The committee will submit a report within a week. However, the Hon’ble Union Minister asked the states to put on hold the project construction works for one week.
ii. The gauge and discharge sites will be opened at inter-state border of Odisha and Chhatisgarh at a location, for effective measurement of flows from Chhatisgarh Catchment into Hirakud dam.
iii. A detailed study of water availability of Mahanadi basin may be carried out by National Institute of Hydrology. , Roorkee.
iv. Govt. of Odisha suggested formation of an expert committee. Although Chhatisgarh was in favour of establishment of Joint Control Board for long term solution, it agreed to formation of an expert committee as suggested by Odisha. The members of expert committee will include experts from different fields ad representatives of the both the states.
The Hon’ble Central Minister requested both the states to take care of the needs of the neighbouring states and to remain sensitive to each other. She stated that water is for love, not for wrangling.
Comments: The State Govt. should put the information in public domain about the details of follow up taken to carry out the decision taken in the meeting agreed by both the warring parties.