Andhra Pradesh and Odisha irrigation officials on Wednesday began a weeklong joint inspection of the site where Neradi barrage is proposed to be constructed to find an amicable solution to the sharing of Vamsadhara waters.
The inspection was taken up following a directive from Justice Mukundam Sarma, head of the Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal which recently toured the two States to get a first hand information.
On the first day, Vamsadhara irrigation circle Superintending Engineer B. Rambabu, Odisha Irrigation Department’s Executive Engineer Dinesh Chandradan, Central Water Commission’s sub-divisional engineers B.V. Sathapathi, D.C. Prasad and others participated in the survey.
Depth of the river, change of its course, inundation of areas during floods and other issues are being studied.
The study is crucial for Andhra Pradesh as it has already taken up Vamsadhara phase-II project with Rs .900 crore. Andhra Pradesh can utilise its share of 52 tmcft at optimum level if Odisha allows construction of the Neradi barrage. The neighbouring State is not even allowing water through side weir which can help Andhra Pradesh draw more water during the time of floods. The water drawn through the wide weir will be diverted to the reservoir being constructed near Hiramandalam.
The neighbouring State rejected Andhra Pradesh’s plea for the construction of the side weir near Battili in Bhamini mandal on the ground that it would alter the river’s course.
It has also been objecting to the construction of the barrage near Neradi though it had agreed to the same under the agreement signed by the two States on July 18, 1961.
Odisha has taken the line that the construction of the barrage will lead to drinking water problem and submergence of several villages. Andhra Pradesh argued that Odisha was objecting to the project only to prevent the development of Srikakulam district.
On the other hand, the Naveen Patnaik government argues that with the construction of the side weir and the barrage, the river course will change. It will also lead to submergence of many areas in Gunpur.