New Delhi: In line with a Supreme Court’s order last month, the union cabinet on Tuesday approved setting up of a tribunal to resolve the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi river waters.

The tribunal has been constituted under the Inter-State River Disputes Act, 1956 on the request of Odisha which has repeatedly sought its formation stating that negotiations have failed to resolve the matter.

The tribunal would, “determine water sharing among basin states on the basis of the overall availability of water in the complete Mahanadi basin, contribution of each state, the present utilization of water resources in each state and the potential for future development."

According to an official statement, the tribunal will consist of a chairman and two other members nominated by the Chief Justice of India from among judges of the Supreme Court or high courts.

“Further, services of two assessors who are water resources experts having experience in handling sensitive water-related issues will be provided to advise the tribunal in its proceedings … the tribunal is required to submit its report and decision within a period of three years which can be extended to a further period not exceeding two years due to unavoidable reasons," the statement said.

The formation of the tribunal comes after the apex court in December 2017 pulled up the central government for not forming the tribunal. Thereafter in January, SC directed the central government to constitute the tribunal within one month to resolve the issue.

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