The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted the Maharashtra Government to go ahead with the construction of the Bhabli barrage across the Godavari but restrained it from installing gates meant for release of water till further orders.
"Maharashtra may go ahead with the construction of the barrage but will not install 13 proposed gates till further order and Maharashtra will not claim any equity because of the construction till final disposal of the suit,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.
The restraint on installing gates in the barrage is to ensure that there was no obstruction to free flow of water to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, which is opposing the construction.
The interim order was passed on a suit filed by Andhra Pradesh challenging construction of the barrage on the ground that it would adversely affect the interest of its people in the drought prone Telengana region.
The Bench made it clear that "in case the barrage is constructed and water is stopped in the dam then there will be reverse flow in the barrage.”
According to Andhra Pradesh construction of barrage is against the 1980 Godavri Water Tribunal Award. The reservoir having a capacity of 65 TMC feet water if filled to capacity by Maharashtra will stop supply to Pochambad dam which supplies water to Telangana region in the lean season and six districts of the region will face severe water crisis, it submitted.
On behalf of Andhra Pradesh, senior counsel K Parasaran contended that the barrage will create water scarcity in Telangana region and that Maharashtra cannot be allowed to construct it in violation of the Godavri Water Tribunal Award.
For Maharashtra, senior counsel Andhiyarjuna, however, defended the construction of barrage that began in 2005 and contended that no harm shall be caused to the interest of Andhra Pradesh as reservoir was only meant for meeting its requirements.
Besides the Andhra Pradesh government, a number of MPs, MLAs leaders of of the state including those of Telengana Rashtra Samiti have impleaded themselves in the suit against Maharashtra.