Centre has decided to set up a single and permanent tribunal to resolve all interstate water-related disputes. The Centre is also intending to amend Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956 in order to set up some benches under the tribunal. 

 

According to the proposal, a retired Supreme Court Judge will be the chairperson of the single and permanent tribunal. The benches will be dissolved once a dispute is resolved and another bench can be set up whenever an issue arises.

 
The cabinet meeting has approved this proposal and the Bill will be introduced in next Parliament session.

 

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The previous tribunals took decades to find a solution to the interstate water disputes. But, as per this new proposal, the tribunal will announce its final verdict within 3 years. 

 

The Centre also proposes to set up Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC), comprising experts and policy-makers. The committee will take up the disputes prior to the Tribunal. Thus, most disputes will get resolved at the DRC’s level itself. A state can approach the tribunal if it is not satisfied with the solutions of DRC.

 

At present, there are eight tribunals looking into the disputes related to Cauvery, Mahadayi, Ravi and Beas, Vansadhara and Krishna rivers. 

 

However, the water management experts say that when even eight tribunals could not deliver the verdict in time, how can we expect a single tribunal to deliver the final verdict in three years time? 

 

If a state is not satisfied with the verdict, the case may land up in the Supreme Court too.