Major Irrigation Minister Sudarshan Reddy to attend final hearing in Supreme Court today

The State government has decided to adopt a tough stand on the controversial Babli project being built by Maharashtra and demand its demolition during the final hearing in the Supreme Court on October 16.

A resolution for the total removal of the project was adopted at an all-party meeting held here on Monday on the ground that it was built in complete violation of inter-State agreements on sharing of river waters. It was attended by leaders of the TDP, TRS, CPI and Congress.

The meeting, chaired by Major Irrigation Minister P. Sudarshan Reddy, was convened a day ahead of the final hearing in the apex court. The parties felt there was no alternative to the demolition of Babli in order to protect the Sriramsagar project ayacut in the five districts of Telangana region.

The Minister, along with senior officials of the Irrigation department, is leaving for Delhi to attend the final hearing. Speaking to media persons, Mr. Reddy said Maharashtra’s argument that it had built Babli with 2.74 tmcft storage capacity for drinking water purposes did not hold water. The project would facilitate illegal use of 65 tmcft of Godavari water that rightfully belonged to the State. Referring to the observation of the Supreme Court Bench at the last hearing whether AP government would take over Babli project by paying the project cost to Maharashtra government, Mr. Reddy said it would not serve any purpose as the project was located in Maharashtra territory. Therefore, it would not be possible to check illegal use of Godavari waters by that State.

However, he said A.P. was ready to give 1.09 tmcft to Maharashtra for drinking water purposes. Vidyasagar Rao of TRS said Maharashtra should confine itself to use of 1.09 tmcft and that along with Babli, 11 other upstream barrages constructed by Maharashtra government should be monitored. The State should also insist for removal of gates erected at the Babli project illegally.

Civil Supplies Minister D. Sridhar Babu, Congress whip E. Anil Kumar, CPI leader Chada Venkata Reddy, TDP leader Mandava Venkateswara Rao, B. Vinod Kumar of TRS and others attended.