Delay In River Water Tribunal Constitution: Shekhawat blames KCR

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat
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Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat

Highlights

Rebutting the claim of Telangana government that the Centre had failed to constitute a new Tribunal to allocate Krishna and Godavari river waters, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Thursday that the TS government should blame itself for the delay and definitely not the Centre.

New Delhi: Rebutting the claim of Telangana government that the Centre had failed to constitute a new Tribunal to allocate Krishna and Godavari river waters, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Thursday that the TS government should blame itself for the delay and definitely not the Centre.

The Centre has always been positive to refer the issue to a Tribunal so that the contentious issue of water sharing between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was amicably resolved. But it was the Telangana government which went to the Supreme Court on the issue. He reminded that the TS government had on October 6, 2020 said they would withdraw the petition in the Supreme Court in two days. But it took eight months to withdraw it. Unfortunately, the Centre was being blamed for their fault, the Union minister said.

Shekawat said his ministry had sought the opinion of the Law and Justice ministry and would take further action once they give their opinion. He said there were two options available to the Union government in this regard. One to give fresh terms of reference to the existing Tribunal and second was to constitute a new Tribunal. The first option would help in speedy redressal of the issue. If a new Tribunal was to be constituted, it would take more time since the Chief Justice of India will have to identify a retired judge to head the Tribunal, he said.

"Being in a responsible position, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao should not have made such comments against me. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed the ministry to see that the water dispute between the two States was resolved at the earliest.

If the governments of AP and Telangana do not move along with the Centre, how can we find an amicable solution?" he asked.

The Union minister also took serious note of the two States for not extending cooperation to the KRMB and GRMB in discharge of their duties as per the gazette notification issued by the Union government in June this year. The gazette is supposed to come into force from October 14 this year. The two States were at loggerheads over the issues mentioned in the notification. There is no need to postpone its implementation since the gazette was issued after consulting both the States.

He said disobeying the Central Acts goes against the constitutional spirit, Shekhawat said, urging both the States to support the river boards for their smooth functioning. "It is also mandatory to release the seed money to run the boards efficiently," he added.

Replying to a question, the Union minister said both the States had not submitted DPRs (Detailed Project Reports) of the unauthorised and unapproved irrigation projects listed in the notification. "They have just submitted the DPRs on a piece of paper instead of a proforma and are claiming that the DPRs were already submitted and accusing the Centre for nothing," he said.

Referring to Veligonda project in AP which has been mentioned as unapproved project in the gazette, Shekhawat clarified that it was wrongly spelt as Veligodu in the gazette notification and it would be rectified with the approval of Parliament soon.

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