Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday said both Odisha and Chhattisgarh should resolve the Mahanadi water dispute amicably and try to reach a consensus through discussions.

“It would be better if both the states resolve the issue amicably by holding discussions. If it is not resolved through this process, then the legal process would be followed,” Prasad told reporters on the sidelines of the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) building in Cuttack.

He said both the states should follow the necessary legal process for the formation of a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi issue instead of playing blame games.

The state government has been demanding the constitution of a tribunal to resolve the water issue. The delay in the constitution of the tribunal has irked the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

“The Centre is deliberately delaying to constitute a tribunal so that the Chhattisgarh government can construct barrages and dams on the Mahanadi river,” said BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday reiterated his demand before the Centre for the immediate issuance of a notification for the constitution of a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute with Chhattisgarh.

The Chief Minister, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sought his personal intervention in the matter for issuing an appropriate directive for constituting the tribunal within the stipulated timeline for early adjudication of the water dispute.

While the timeline of one year for the constitution of the tribunal for adjudicating the Mahanadi water dispute under Section 4(1) of the Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act of 1956 got over on November 18, the Union government has not constituted the tribunal, he said.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra laid the foundation stone for the construction of the new building of the Cuttack bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Orissa High Court Chief Justice Vineet Saran were also present.