Hydrologist Chetan Pandit, witness appearing for Telangana before the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal (KWDT-II), has reiterated that the general principle of inter-basin water transfer is that it has to be from surplus basin and not from a deficit one.
During the cross-examination of the witness done by senior advocate appearing for Andhra Pradesh R. Venkataramani in New Delhi on Wednesday, Mr. Pandit denied the suggestion that his proposals for system operational protocol during the deficit conditions/years are not in consonance with the binding of KWDT-I and KWDT-II Awards.
He stated that there was nothing in the operational protocol proposed by him that runs contrary to the two Tribunal Awards. However, the protocol being developed by him would be an attempt to address the changed scenario of Telangana coming into existence from the combined Andhra Pradesh in place at the time of the two Tribunal Awards’ finalisation.
When the counsel for AP probed the Telangana witness about certain paras in his protocol proposals, Mr. Pandit explained that the development of water resources in a basin is seldom uniform all across the basin. In spite of having large culturable area, it was lagging behind in development for want of water in Telangana with large qunatities of water being transferred outside the basin.
Senior officials of Telangana Irrigation department who were present at the proceedings said the witness for the State reiterated before the Tribunal that there can be no justification for supply of water to outside the basin areas when water is not sufficient to meet the in-basin demand which includes consumptive use and filling of reservoirs.
The general principle of inter-basin transfer is that it may be transferred only from a surplus basin and not from a deficit basin. Further, the witness stated that a State should have the liberty to use the quantity of water given to it by deciding intra-State priorities between different users. However, water allocated for use within the basin shall not be used outside it.
Underscoring the need to determine the shares of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the carry over storage of 150 tmc ft, Mr. Pandit told the Tribunal that it was required since there is new a State (Telangana) against the existence of only combined AP at the time of finalisation of the two Tribunal Awards. There was also need to codify the priorities for supply of water from Nagarjunasagar as usage in the past was only in one State against two now.
Further, the Telangana witness suggested that the entire requirement of NS Right Canal doesn’t have to come from Nagarjunasagar reservoir alone and could be met from other options. Stating that diversion of water outside the basis should receive “protection”, he, however, said that KWDT-II report does not says that the existing usages outside the basin should receive the “same priority”.