Saturday, August 6, 2011
Editorial, 'INDIA'S RICHEST TEMPLE' in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, Vol. 7, Part 2, No. 14 - 31 July 2011 issue
Readers are advised to go through this excellent article on one of the aspects of water sharing published in Siasat, 2010: http://www.siasat.com/english/news/no-one-stealing-telangana-water
No one is stealing Telangana water
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Hyderabad, April 22: Since India is a federal democracy, and because rivers cross state boundaries, creating efficient and equitable mechanisms for allocating river flows has long been an important legal and constitutional issue. We must understand the real picture regarding the utilisation of river waters within Andhra Pradesh to judge the Telangana question.
The two most important rivers for Andhra Pradesh are the Krishna and the Godavari.
The riparian states in the Krishna basin are Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. As the three states could not come to an amicable settlement for division of the river waters, the Central Government set up the Krishna River Water Disputes (KWDT) under the chairmanship of Justice R S Bachawat in 1969.
Maharashtra and Karnataka pleaded before the tribunal to allocate the river waters according to the proportions of catchment area, drainage contribution, population, culturable areas, etc, in the three states. The tribunal rejected this demand, stating that no state has a proprietary interest over a particular volume of water in an interstate river on the basis of the catchment area or with reference to its irrigated area, population or drainage contribution, and the existing use of a state is an important evidence of its needs.
The tribunal, after studying the issue for seven years, issued their final orders in 1976. It awarded 800 tmc ft of water to Andhra Pradesh, 700 tmc ft to Karnataka, and 560 tmc ft to Maharashtra, all adding up to 2060 tmc ft. It also permitted Andhra Pradesh to utilise the surplus waters over and above 2060 tmc ft, without, however, acquiring any right on the use of such waters. The demand of the two upper riparian states to be given a share of the excess waters was rejected.
However, Karnataka and Maharashtra have been persistently violating the tribunal’s orders by constructing unauthorized projects to the detriment of Andhra Pradesh. To resolve this dispute, the Union government constituted the second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal under the chairmanship of Brijesh Kumar in 2004.
The upper riparian states have been arguing for an enhancement of their share in the dependable waters and also to provide a share in the surplus waters. Andhra Pradesh has requested that the present allocations continue and that an independent monitoring body be appointed to control and implement the earlier tribunal’s orders.
Telangana’s demand for Krishna waters
Some aspirants for a separate Telangana state are propagating the view that the 800 tmc ft allocated to AP should be distributed among the three regions of the state, Rayalaseema, Andhra and Telangana on the equitable basis of the catchment area, drainage contribution, population, culturable areas, etc. This is a misinterpretation by a few propagators knowing fully well that distribution of water cannot be made on such a basis.
It is unfortunate that they are mortifying the minds of the people of Telangana, including innocent students and rural people, and creating enmity among the Telugu-speaking people of AP.
In this context, it is to be clearly indicated that Andhra Pradesh has pleaded for appointment of an independent monitoring authority to exercise control and implement the tribunal’s orders without any deviation. Also, it is desirable now to plead before the tribunal that the bulk and lumpsum allocations made to each riparian state shall be distributed among the various projects in that state in order to avoid use of more water than allocated under the pretext of en bloc allocation and redistribution among the projects within their states (which is now being adopted by the upper states).
It is evident from the above that even in case of division of Andhra Pradesh, there should be no difficulty or problem for distribution of allocated waters among the regions.
The Bachawat Tribunal has considered all the anticipated usages in Telangana while making its report. The special consideration shown to the Jurala project is an example. Telangana has not lost any legitimate water rights either in the Godavari or in the Krishna river.
The people of Andhra Pradesh are peace-loving and have a law-abiding nature. If a few miscreants propagate against the basic principles of obedience of the law and create enmity amongst the people there will be considerable harm to them which would be difficult to set right in future.
There are five riparian states in the Godavari basin, namely Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. All the states approached the central government with a request to set up a water disputes tribunal as they could not come to an agreement over the division of the waters among themselves dy direct negotiations.
The government set up the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal in 1969 under the chairmanship of Justice R S Bachawat.
But before the matter was heard by the tribunal, the riparian states changed their mind and agreed to divide the waters among themselves by mutual negotiations. Accordingly, some bilateral and multilateral agreements were concluded between 1975 and 1980 and filed before the tribunal with a request to include them in the final orders.
The bulk of the contribution to the Godavari is from the Pranahita, Indravati and Sabari tributaries and there is no dearth of water in the river below the confluence of the Pranahita for use by Andhra Pradesh. But, as a major part of the cultivable area in Telangana is situated at an elevation of 100-600 m above mean sea level, any reservoir will serve only a limited ayacut under gravity flow. To serve large tracts in Telangana, water is to be lifted to a considerable height.
. Under the Jalayagnam programme of the AP government, a number of lift irrigation schemes, such as the Godavari Lift Irrigation Scheme (LIS), Pranahitha- Chevella LIS, Dummagudem-Nagarjunasagar Tailpond LIS, etc. have been taken up and there is no dearth of water in the river for these projects.
Out of 3,216 tmc ft of utilizable water at 75% dependability in the river, the share of AP is about 1480 tmc ft. This has been earmarked for the projects under operation, construction and contemplation.
In addition, every year huge quantities of water, amounting to about 3,000 tmc ft are flowing into the sea in the flood season. Hence, there may not be any serious problem regarding the availability of water to all the projects under construction and contemplation even in case of division of the state.
Under the Jalayagnam programme, 45 major and 29 medium irrigation projects are being taken up, at an estimated cost of Rs 1,62,365 crore, to create an ayacut of 10.60 lakh acres and stabilize the old ayacut in the three regions of the state. In addition, rehabilitation and repairs to 10 flood banks and modernization of 8 irrigation projects have been contemplated at a total cost of Rs 17,314 crore.
Jalayagnam will bring 139.51 lakh acres under irrigation at a cost of Rs 1,07,871 crore in Telangana, 123.01 lakh acres (Rs 44,465 crore) in Coastal Andhra, and 52.52 lakh acres (Rs 2,637 crore) in Rayalaseema.
It is evident that no injustice has been done to any region, especially to Telangana, in the irrigation sector. In the best interests of all the three regions, it is advisable and desirable to complete all the balance works in a united state, or else it would be difficult for each of the future individual states to complete such projects with large outlays.
One important factor to be borne in mind is that the irrigation potential created in coastal Andhra is comparatively greater than that in other regions because of historic reasons, mainly the early efforts by British rulers and the advantage of gravity. The formation of a delta is a nature’s gift which contributes to the development of irrigation in that region. Because of this reason, the economic condition of Andhra Pradesh is comparatively more stable than other parts of the country.
The government of Andhra Pradesh decided to modernize the Krishna delta system and save 29 tmc ft of water from the allocated 181.2 tmc ft to the Krishna delta. The government is yet to modernize the Krishna delta but meanwhile they have allocated 20 tmc ft to the Bhima project in Mahboobnagar in Telangana.
The farmers of the delta never questioned the propriety of reallocation to 20 tmc ft to the Bhima project as they feel that Mahboobnagar district should get water for its needs. The balance of 9 tmc ft is allocated for evaporatioon losses in the Pulichintala project, which is a balancing reservoir.
The politicians of Telangana have been stating that the Pulichintala project is being constructed to provide water for a third crop in the Krishna delta.
This is totally false propaganda. In fact, the project is only a balancing reservoir to store about 35 tmc ft of water. This storage will help all the three regions in one way or another.
It is also necessary to remember that the Polavaram project being planned on the Godavari as a national project is going to help both Telangana and coastal Andhra.
In view of the above facts, we request the Srikrishna Committee to conclude that the fears expressed by some vested interests of Telangana are not correct and need to be ignored.
Courtesy: Express buzz
It seems this article was first published in the New Indian Express.