State government urged to ensure the case is effectively argued before the Supreme Court

Leaders of farmers’ associations staged a demonstration here on Tuesday in protest against the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal (BKT) award, which had caused “irreparable damage” to the lower riparian State of Andhra Pradesh on the sharing of Krishna waters with Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Joining the protest in front of Prakasam Bhavan here, Congress Kisan Cell’s Prakasam district president K. Hanumaiah said the State government should appoint senior advocates to effectively argue the State’s case before the Supreme Court and ensure restoration of the lower riparian State’s “natural right over surplus water.”

Acharya N.G. Ranga Kisan Samstha secretary Ch. Seshaiah said that by allowing the upper riparian State of Karnataka to increase the height of the Almatti reservoir to 524.25 metres, the BKT had paved the way for denial of the rightful share of assured water to Andhra Pradesh.

It was only the assured water and not surplus water that would be stored in the reservoirs in Karnataka, which discharges water only after its reservoirs were fully filled, observed noted farmer leader and former Tobacco Board member Chunduru Ranga Rao. He found fault with the tribunal for sharing the surplus water, much against established international laws for adjudication of riparian rows.

Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam Prakasam district secretary D. Gopinath said the district, which was in the tail-end both under NSP and KWD command areas, would be the worst-hit because of delayed water release from Karnataka following the BKT award.

Drinking water

Uncertainty loomed large over the Veligonda project designed based on surplus Krishna waters, samstha president Alla Venkateswara Rao said.

Drinking water to Ongole and numerous villages in Prakasam district, which was linked to the availability of Krishna waters, would be affected, said Forum for Good Governance secretary Shamseer Ahamad.

Even when the height of Almatti was at 519.6 metres, the Krishna water release to the Krishna delta scheduled for June 12 was delayed by a couple of months, BJP led Kisan Morcha State executive member Ravvi Venkateswaralu said.

The State would have to forgo kharif crop altogether in over 40 lakh hectares, he feared.

Farmers would be losing ready-to-harvest crop to cyclones in November and December every year as a result of the BKT award, AIKS district secretary B. Hanuma Reddy feared.

CPI-led All India Kisan Sabha district president K.V.V. Prasad said only leftover Krishna waters were being released to Andhra Pradesh year after year.

YSR Congress farmers’ wing district president Mareddy Subba Reddy accused the government of not arguing the State’s case properly before the BKT.