Ministers asked to study the implications of the judgment

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Friday said the government would not hesitate to file a review petition in the Supreme Court if the farmers under Sriramsagar Project (SRSP) suffer any loss, even while contending that its order on Babli might not harm the State’s interests as sufficient safeguards were provided.

During a media interaction here, he said Major Irrigation Minister P. Sudarshan Reddy, Irrigation Department, and other Ministers have been asked to study the implications of the judgment and give feedback, enabling him to take suitable action.

He affirmed that the utilisation of 2.74 tmcft of Godavari waters by Maharashtra through Babli as cleared by the court was within the 60 tmcft to which that the State was entitled.

The safeguards contained in the judgment and cited by the Chief Minister included the stipulation to open Babli gates during the monsoon period (July to October ) to allow inflows to SRSP, constitution of a committee with representatives from Central Water Commission, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh to see that utilisation under Babli did not exceed the permitted quantity. “I am confident that the judgment will not prevent waters from flowing into SRSP.”

The Chief Minister, nonetheless, admitted “we have failed to get Babli demolished” despite engaging the best legal team.

On Polavaram project, Mr. Reddy said the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests had “suspended” operation of its letter through which it had asked Andhra Pradesh to stop construction of Polavaram and offered to conduct public hearings in Orissa and Chhattisgarh over the likely submersions under the project, if the State failed to undertake the exercise in six months.

He spoke of the huge benefits that would accrue once Polavaram was completed, including prevention of loss of crops worth Rs.5,000 crore annually due to October cyclones in Coastal Andhra.

He hoped that power supply situation would improve soon as AP Genco and Hinduja projects under construction would be ready by October, adding 3,000 MW capacity to the grid. A sum of Rs.300 crore was being provided a month now to buy RLNG fuel and operate 500 MW out of the capacity at idle gas-based project. He ruled out possibility of the government intervening to stop collection of FSA charges by distribution companies, saying they were independent entities.

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