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National News

Jul 31, 2019

Lok Sabha passes Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill

Lok Sabha has passed the Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2019 with voice vote. 

The Bill seeks to amend the Interstate River Water Disputes Act 1956 to streamline the adjudication of inter-state water disputes. 

Under the Bill, when a state puts in a request regarding any water dispute, the central government will set up a Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC), to resolve the dispute amicably. 

The DRC will comprise of a Chairperson, and experts with at least 15 years of experience in relevant sectors as well as one member from each state who are party to the dispute, to be nominated by the state government.

The DRC will seek to resolve the dispute through negotiations, within one year, and submit its report to the central government. If a dispute cannot be settled by the DRC, the central government will refer it to the Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal.

Speaking on the Bill, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, this Bill will help adjudicate disputes relating to waters of inter-state rivers and river valleys at a faster pace. 

The Minister said, there is no timeframe to adjudicate disputes and tribunals were extended indefinitely. He also clarified that the government has no intention of outsourcing data.

Manish Tewari of Congress opposed the Bill saying the Bill is faulty. He said, the Centre has not consulted the states before bringing up this Bill. Mr Tewari termed the Bill as an assault on the federal structure and instead of solving the problems it would aggravate the matter.

Kalyan Banerjee of Trinamool Congress said, states should have been consulted before bringing the Bill.

Dayanidhi Maran of DMK said, the government should first nationalise the rivers and added that the Centre is toothless otherwise.

Lok Sabha has also passed the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill. The Bill amends the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 which provides for the eviction of unauthorised occupants from public premises in certain cases. 

The Bill adds a provision laying down the procedure for eviction from residential accommodation. If the person in unauthorised occupation of the residential accommodation challenges the eviction order passed by the estate officer in court, he will be required to pay damages for every month of such occupation.

Moving the Bill in the House, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, the amendments will facilitate smooth and speedy eviction of unauthorised occupants from government residences.

Members of Congress, Trinamool Congress, BJD, NCP and Shiv Sena were among those who took part in the debate.

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