Amaravati: The Vamsadhara Water Dispute Tribunal on Wednesday gave a verdict resolving an inter-state water dispute between AP and Odisha over construction of Neradi barrage on the Vamsadhara river in Srikakulam district.
The barrage construction remained pending for more than a decade-and-a-half due to the claim of Odisha that the structure would submerge lands and villages within its jurisdiction.
The tribunal ruled that the AP government pay compensation for the lands subjected to submergence to its Odisha counterpart within a span of one year. Odisha, in turn, has been directed to complete the acquisition of a little over 100 acres and hand them over to AP government within the same period to make way for the barrage construction.
The project cost has shot up to Rs 1,500 crore from Rs 890 crore because of the long-drawn dispute. The Central Water Commission has been instructed to constitute an inter-state regulatory body to implement the award under the supervision of a committee comprising four members- two officials from the CWC and each from the two states. Odisha and AP governments signed an agreement in 1962 to share water on 50:50 basis.
The Neradi barrage was designed for diversion of the Vamsadhara waters impounded by the dam built on the river. The dam could not be put to use because of the dispute all these years.
The tribunal in its verdict asked both the states to share the river water in the ratio as agreed upon by them earlier. Accordingly, AP will utilise the waters during a period from June 1 to November 30 from a side wear. The wear will remain closed from December 1 to May 31, enabling Odisha to do the same during that period on a turn system.
The award is expected to help stablise 1.7 lakh acres in AP by harnessing the Vamsadhara waters in addition to creating an additional ayacut with 40,000 acres.