U.P. may approach Supreme Court for Sone water: Minister

Threatens to “stop water from different sources going to Madhya Pradesh”

Water dispute between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh showed no signs of abating with the Irrigation Minister, Shivpal Singh Yadav, taking a tough stand on the neighbouring State’s move to deny U.P. its share of water from the Bansagar Dam over river Sone in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh.

Stating that the Uttar Pradesh Government would seek legal redressal, Mr. Yadav said he does not rule out the option of approaching the Supreme Court. “If justice is denied to the State, then Uttar Pradesh will also stop water from different sources going to Madhya Pradesh,” warned the Irrigation Minister.

Mr. Yadav blamed the Madhya Pradesh Government for denying U.P. its share of water from the Bansagar Dam. “The Government of India has cooperated with the State but the Madhya Pradesh Irrigation Department officials have denied Uttar Pradesh its rightful share of water for the last nine years,” Mr. Yadav said in Sonbhadra on Monday.

He added that U.P.’s share of water would be taken at all cost.

For the record, the Bansagar Irrigation Project, which was started in 1978, is a joint venture of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. As per the terms of agreement, water from Bansagar reservoir in M.P. is supplied to U.P. through Bansagar feeder canal, Adwa-Meja link canal and Meja-Jirgo link channel. The Bansagar water is meant to enhance the irrigation potential of Allahabad and Mirzapur districts. The project with a total cost of Rs.2,800 crore has been completed.

Mr. Yadav’s attack on the neighbouring State was made during his visit to the site of Kanhar Irrigation Project in Dudhi Tehsil in Sonbhadra district, which is also an inter-State water scheme involving U.P., Chhattisharh and Jharkhand.

Kanhar had hit the headlines when anti-dam activists and members of the Kanhar Bachao Andolan agitating against the plight of the displaced families of Dalits and Adivasis whose land has been taken over for the project were brutally lathi-charged by the police at the dam site in Amwar village on April 14 and 18, 2015. While a protestor, Akhu Khairwar was injured, six other protestors were arrested.

Addressing a public meeting in the Kanhar project campus on Monday, Mr. Yadav said the water scheme would be completed in the year 2016 and irrigation potential through a network of canal would be available to all the 106 villages in the district. He said money for the displaced families in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh has been made available to the two States.

In an oblique reference to the protests over the construction of the dam (39.90 metre in height and 3.25 kilometre long), Mr. Yadav referred to what he termed as “obstacles” and said complaints were also made to the Chief Minister.

Mr. Yadav exhorted the displaced persons “not to be mislead” by certain sections. He assured the displaced families that the State Government is sympathetic to their cause. “Compensation would be given to the eligible persons belonging to three generations of the displaced families,” he added.

Mr. Yadav distributed cheques of Rs.2.11 lakh each to the head of the 351 displaced families. Samajwadi Pension Scheme eligibility letters were given to 827 other displaced persons.

Conceived in 1976 at a cost of Rs.27.75 crore, the Kanhar project’s cost is now estimated at Rs.2,252.29 crore following a meeting of Central Water Commission in October 2014.

Water from Bansagar reservoir in M.P. is supplied to U.P. through Bansagar feeder canal, Adwa-Meja link canal and Meja-Jirgo link channel

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