Centre for new tribunal for Krishna water sharing between Andhra, Telangana
Union Jal Sakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in his letter to Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday indicated that the Centre is considering setting up a new tribunal to decide the sharing of Krishna river water between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Alternatively, the Centre will refer the matter to the existing second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT-II), after obtaining legal opinion, he said.
The KWDT-II, headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, in its judgment on December 30, 2010, allocated a total share of 1,001 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) to Andhra Pradesh, 911 tmc ft to Karnataka and 666 tmc ft to Maharashtra in Krishna river water.
However, after the bifurcation of the combined state of Andhra Pradesh in June 2014, Telangana has been demanding revised allocation of Krishna water to the two Telugu states since they were separated.
The Centre referred the matter to KWDT-II again under Section 89 of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, asking for project-wise allocation of the Krishna water, but the tribunal did not take it up, on the ground that its terms of reference did not permit the same.
Telangana chief minister in his letter to the Centre on October 2 this year requested that the matter be referred to a new tribunal or again to KWDT-II under Inter-State River Water Disputes Act of 1956 so that fresh allocations be made to the two states.
KCR reminded that the Telangana government had made similar representations to the Centre in 2014 and 2018 as well.
In his latest letter to the Telangana CM, Shekawat, however, said the publication of KWDT-II award given in 2010 was stayed by the Supreme Court in 2011 based on a petition by filed the then combined Andhra Pradesh government and after bifurcation of the state, Telangana, too, impleaded in it.
He also reminded that Telangana had gone to Supreme Court in 2015 seeking setting up of a new tribunal or re-mandate KWDT-II under Section-3 of the ISRWD-1956 for reallocation of water between the two Telugu states.
“This matter is still pending in SC and so, the matter being sub-Judice, the Centre can act only after hearing from SC. But now, Telangana has agreed to withdraw its petition in the SC and therefore, the Centre will consider establishment of a new tribunal or alternatively refer the matter to the KWDT-II, after obtaining legal opinion,” the Union minister said.
On the complaint lodged by the Telangana government over the alleged unauthorised expansion of Pothireddypadu Head Regulator project and construction of Rayalaseema lift irrigation scheme on Krishna river in the backwaters of Srisailam reservoir by Andhra Pradesh government, the Union minister said any new project on the river would not be allowed.
He reminded that his ministry as well as Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) had written many times to the Andhra government not to go ahead with the Pothireddypadu or Rayalaseema lift projects until they were technically appraised and cleared by Central Water Commission and sanctioned by the apex council.
At the same time, Shekawat reminded that the expansion of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation scheme on Godavari river by the Telangana government seeking to draw another three tmc ft water per day from the river was also unauthorised and should not be taken up.
“As per the agreement at the apex council meeting held on October 6, both the states should submit detailed project reports (DPRs) of new projects to the respective boards on Krishna and Godavari rivers immediately for appraisal and subsequent sanction by the apex council,” he asserted.