Krishna Water Tribunal disallows petitions of Maharashtra and Karnataka

NEW DELHI: The Krishna Water Tribunal on Friday declined to grant an interim relief on the applications filed by Maharashtra and Karnataka seeking the tribunal's intervention in restraining the lower riparian State of Andhra Pradesh from going ahead with the construction of 11 projects in the Krishna and Godavari basins.

The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, while disallowing the petitions of Maharashtra and Karnataka regarding the inter-state dispute concerning the Krishna River Valley, said the tribunal was not inclined to grant interim relief prayed by the two states.

At the same time the tribunal also said that use of surplus water in projects in question by AP will not entitle it to raise any claim on grounds of prior utilisation or committed use, or the fact that communities had grown around the area relying on water availability.

The surplus water in use in AP and its projects in question would form part of the total quantity of surplus water as may be available for the purposes of sharing among three riparian states.

Andhra Pradesh also cannot launch any other new project utilising surplus water without bringing the fact to the knowledge of upper riparian states and apprising the tribunal of the launching of any such project.

In the event of failure to do so, the tribunal may consider allowing Maharashtra and Karnataka states also to utilise surplus water in certain quantities.

The projects objected by Maharashtra and Karnataka are Telugu Ganga, Srisailam Left Bank Canal, Srisailam Right Bank Canal, Bhima Lift Irrigation, Pulichintala project, Veligondla Project, Handri Niva Project, Galerunagari Project, Kalwakirthy Project, Kalvakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme, Nettampadu Lift Irrigation Scheme, Koilsagar Lift Irrigation Scheme.

D. Sudarshana Reddy, senior advocate for AP, said the order would mean that the State will be allowed to proceed with these projects as usual till the final order of the tribunal. The order of Bachawat Tribunal which gave AP the 'liberty' to use surplus water would continue though not as a matter of right.

On the other hand, Karnataka advocate Brijesh Kalappa disputed Mr Reddy's claim and said that Karnataka and Maharashtra also had reasons to feel elated because the tribunal had at the initial stage itself stated that A P did not have any claim to the water utilisation in these projects on the grounds of prior utilisation or committed use or that the population had grown around the area relying on water avilability.

Talking to reporters, Special Representative of Andhra Pradesh Government in the national capital Mallu Ravi said the tribunal's decision was a victory for Andhra Pradesh as it can go ahead with the projects - UNI.

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