‘Andhra Pradesh has made huge investment on Pattiseema project’

Telangana’s witness places apprehension before KWDT-II; Chairman Justice Brijesh Kumar too observes that clarity missing in AP’s GOs, letter

March 20, 2021 11:48 pm | Updated 11:49 pm IST - HYDERABAD

The expert witness appearing for Telangana before the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT-II) in the ongoing hearing for re-allocation of water between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Ghanshyam Jha, has submitted that Andhra Pradesh has made huge investment on Pattiseema lift and drawing over 100 tmc ft of water every year and the facts establish the apprehension that it is permanent.

Pattaiseema lift was taken up by the Andhra Pradesh Government in 2015, completed in 2016 and functioning from 2017 Kharif season “with an objective to supplement water to the Krishna Delta and the upland areas of Krishna and West Godavari district till the completion of Polavaram project (its right canal)”.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report of 2017 faulted the Andhra Pradesh Government for not taking necessary clearances for Pattiseema from the Central Water Commission (CWC) as per the provisions of AP Reorganisation Act since it is linking the two inter-state rivers.

The CAG had also observed that its (Pattiseema’s) lifetime would only be three years as per AP’s calculation.

Mr. Jha, a former Chairman of the CWC, was cross-examined by senior counsel appearing on behalf of Andhra Pradesh R. Venkatarami before the full tribunal – chaired by Justice Brijesh Kumar and Members Justice Rammohan Reddy and Justice S. Talapatra – in New Delhi on Friday mostly on diversions of Godavari river, Polavaram project and Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme.

The AP’s counsel drew the attention of Mr. Jha to various documents like GO 1 and 200 of the AP Government and letter written to the Centre by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in September 2015 stating that Pattiseema is a temporary scheme and it will be non-functional once the Polavaram project is completed.

However, the Telangana’s witness countered the view by quoting a question (545) raised in Lok Sabha in 2015 wherein it was mentioned that Pattiseema was not part of Polavaram and water drawals made by AP were over 100 tmc ft every year.

The Telangana’s witness also expressed his apprehension before the tribunal that as huge investment was made in the project (Pattiseema), it would not be discontinued. Chairman of the tribunal Justice Brijesh Kumar intervened and observed that some clarity is missing in the letter written by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister in September 2015 and GO 1.

The Andhra Pradesh’s counsel also cross-examined Mr. Jha drawing his attention to several questions placed at Andhra Pradesh’s witnesses M. Visveswar Rao and K.V. Subba Rao earlier – in the previous sittings of the tribunal.

Mr. Jha also asserted that a project project can’t be taken up without approvals just because Polavaram project is delayed.

The tribunal Chairman intervened and suggested the Andhra Pradesh’s counsel not to put questions to the witness by placing reliance on the questions and replies of Andhra Pradesh’s witnesses.

The tribunal postponed the next hearing, continuation of the cross-examination of Mr. Jha, to April 28 to 30. Senior advocate V. Ravinder Rao, advocate on record Nikhil Swami, engineers R. Koteswar Rao, S. Vijay Kumar, K. Venkata Narayana and others attended the proceedings on behalf of Telangana.

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