In a major set back to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States, the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal on sharing of Krishna waters (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II) has made it clear that it would not take a relook into allocation of water among the riparian States afresh but would take up distribution of water allocation to combined AP to Telangana and residuary AP States.
The tribunal pronounced its judgement on the litigation prompted by AP and TS arguing that Section 89 in the AP Reorganisation Act meant redistribution of Krishna water among all the four riparian States not just between them at New Delhi on Wednesday. In its verdict, the tribunal said Section 89 was not applicable to all four States but meant only for TS and AP.
Further, it has asked TS and AP to come before it on December 14 with claims on sharing of water between the two out of the allocation made for combined AP by the tribunal already. Accordingly, the two States are expected to reiterate their stand before the tribunal on December 14 along with putting forward their claims on share of water, allocation of which has already been made but put on hold following a stay issued by the Supreme Court on publication of the award in the gazette.
Maharashtra and Karnataka States strongly opposed redistribution of water based on Section 89 of the bifurcation act as argued for by TS and AP during the arguments held before the tribunal for over a year. Even the Centre has also taken similar view and submitted to the tribunal that Section 89 was meant for distribution of water only between TS and AP.
Advisor to State Government (Irrigation) R. Vidyasagar Rao who was present during the pronouncement of the judgement expressed disappointment over the tribunal verdict and said the government would chalk out its future course of action after going through the judgement and taking legal opinion. He, however, said the option of moving the Supreme Court against the tribunal verdict on Section 89 was also open.
He felt that though it appeared during the hearings that the tribunal would take a sympathetic view of the injustice done to Telangana on Krishna waters from the beginning but the verdict had made it clear that the tribunal had overlooked the contention of Telangana and injustice done to it. “Our contentions and argument along with proof of injustice done and discrimination in the allocation of water by KWDT-II was not taken in the right spirit by the tribunal”, he opined.
Meanwhile, irrigation experts have suggested that the State Government must approach the Supreme Court against the tribunal verdict on Section 89 as Krishna Basin was one large unit and any redistribution of water should take place among all the riparian States instead of just TS, AP as felt fit by the tribunal. “We can move the Supreme Court and highlight the injustice done to Telangana in the matter of Krishna water sharing from the beginning along with facts and figures and convince it for a favourable view”, retired irrigation engineers Shyam Prasad Reddy said in his reaction on the tribunal verdict.