AP – Maharashtra in bitter battle over Babli project అక్టోబర్ 29, 2012Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Congress, corruption, ecology, Godavari, Identity, Polavaram, politics, regionalism, Telangana.
Tags: Central Water Commission, inter-state conflicts, Jala Yagnam, Maharashtra, riparian rights, water conflicts, water sharing
Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra lock horns over Babli project on Godavari waters
Amarnath K Menon, India Today, Hyderabad, October 17, 2012
Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, both Congress ruled states, are locked in a bitter battle over the sharing of the Godavari waters and the impounding of the water at the Babli project in Maharashtra. The all party demand in Andhra Pradesh is for the demolition of the Babli project even as the Supreme Court has on Tuesday deferred further hearing on the dispute until November 8.
The execution of the Babli project and the drawing water from its reservoir as well as 11 projects upstream in Maharashtra in violation of the orders of the Central Water Commission would adversely affect the flow of the Godavari waters to irrigate farms in Telangana and turn the region into an arid zone.
“The Maharashtra administration and local farmers are not allowing us even to visit the project,” said the Andhra Pradesh major irrigation minister A. Sudarshan Reddy.Though the Maharashtra claim is that it is only tapping 60 thousand million cubic feet (TMC ft) of water the contention of Andhra Pradesh is that its computation is that the upper riparian state is already drawing 65.35 TMC ft.
Andhra claims to have gleaned this from documents of Maharashtra which shows that projects upstream of Babli were utilizing 59.112 TMC ft of water and the Maharasthra document on Babli reveals that there is scope for using up to 8.98 TMC ft. This disproves Maharashtra’s argument that it had not violated any norms of water sharing and was utilizing more than its share.
Disputing the Andhra argument, Maharashtra has decided to close the Babli gates on October 28 by which time about 6.63 TMC ft of water would have flowed down river into Andhra Pradesh. The gates are to remain closed until May 31 next year and Maharashtra’s claim is that until then it will get only 2.74 TMC ft.
The three judge bench of the apex court, comprising Justices R.M.Lodha, T.S. Thakur and Anil Dave has questioned the basis of Maharashtra’s arguments and asked it to furnish documentary evidence in support of it. They pointed out that water availability during the period October 28 to May 31 would have to be computed as per the average availability of water over the last 75 years.
Andhra Pradesh has rejected the proposal of the apex court to pay Rs.200 crore that Maharashtra incurred on building the Babli and take possession of the controversial project. “We are ready to pay that money but not to take charge of operating it considering that it is across our border. We are ready to pay, demolish the project and let the water flow,” said Sudarshan Reddy.
Maharashtra’s contention is that it would not use a drop of water more than the 2.74 TMC ft from Babli and that it was ready for a joint mechanism to supervise the project. Andhra Pradesh has rejected this pointing out that it was not possible for a contiguous state to keep a 24 x 7 vigil. Reddy says Maharashtra cannot be trusted as it had gone ahead and built the Babli project despite constant objections.