The Andhra Pradesh government today appointed senior advocates Harish Salve, K Parasaran and G Umapathy to represent the state in appeal against the latest award of Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, in the Supreme Court as well as before the Tribunal.
The State government has decided to contest the KWDT’s award of December 30, whereby water-shares of the three riparian States - Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh - were fixed.
The government had announced in the Assembly last week that it would file appeal against the award.
The State feels the Tribunal’s award is against its interests, as it has lost the right of utilisation of more than 130 tmc ft of surplus water. The other major issue is the permission given to Karnataka for raising the height of Almatti dam to 524.5 metres from 519 metres.
“The State has to seek clarifications on several matters before the Tribunal under section 5(3) of ISRWD Act, 1956, before March 30,” Principal Secretary (Irrigation Projects) Shailendra Kumar Joshi said in the appointment-order today.
While all the three lawyers would argue the State’s case in the Supreme Court, Mr. Parasaran and Mr. Umapathy would also appear before the Tribunal.
The ruling Congress in the State had come in for sharp criticism from the opposition parties, which said that government had chosen “inefficient” lawyers to plead Andhra’s case before the Tribunal.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has already said that the State would pick “the best” lawyers while contesting the Tribunal’s award.
Accordingly, Mr. Parasaran and Mr. Salve were approached.
Mr. Umapathy was roped in at Mr. Parasaran’s request, sources said.
An all-party meeting will be held here on March 22, to discuss the State’s strategy in contesting the award.
According to the State government, the December 30 award puts AP at the mercy of Karnataka, the upper riparian State.
It is feared that due to the increase in level of Almatti dam, the kharif-season irrigation of lands under Nagarjuna Sagar project in Andhra Pradesh will be affected.
More than 13.5 lakh acres in six districts are irrigated by the Nagarjuna Sagar project.
It will also have adverse impact on the Srisailam Left Branch Canal and other projects like Veligonda, it is feared.
AP would lose right over more than 130 tmc ft of surplus water because of the Tribunal’s award, though it has got an additional 190 tmc ft of water as firm allocation.
Being a lower riparian state, AP hitherto had the right over 320 tmc ft of surplus water, which the Tribunal has now reduced to 190 tmc ft, while Karnataka and Maharashtra have been given 177 tmc ft and 81 tmc ft surplus water, respectively.
This reduction would affect irrigation projects like SLBC, Galeru-Nagari, Handri-Neeva, Kalwakurthy (lift), Nettempadu and Veligonda, State authorities feel.