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AP, Telangana must jointly face injustice

AP, Telangana must jointly face injustice
Highlights

The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal 2 (KWDT-2) has turned down the plea for redistribution of Krishna water among the four riparian states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra.  Andhra Pradesh and Telangana pitched for such four-way redistribution. 

The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal 2 (KWDT-2) has turned down the plea for redistribution of Krishna water among the four riparian states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana pitched for such four-way redistribution.

But, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the two upper riparian states, strongly opposed the demand of the successor states to united Andhra Pradesh and claimed that these two states should share the waters allocated to erstwhile Andhra Pradesh between them and there should be no further reopening of the KWDT-2 award.


In Hot Waters

  • KWDT-2 stand is that the AP Reorganisation Act is applicable only to AP and Telangana
  • Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will lose their rightful share due to this truncated and limited perception
  • The Tribunal even rendered injustice on surplus waters to AP, TS
  • This will hit many projects which are planned or being planned and located in both states
  • United AP and later its successor states rejected the award and urged the SC for justice
  • AP, TS need to resolve differences, work out a joint strategy for a comprehensive review of the award
  • Otherwise, many of the projects in both the states will be in a serious jeopardy

Besides serious objections over the award of Second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT-2) headed by Brijesh Kumar Mishra for the then united Andhra Pradesh and the present successor states – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – these two states have specific reasons to demand a fresh look at the whole award.

Telangana argued that it was not in existence when the Tribunal heard the arguments of the riparian states and announced its award. It cannot be condemned to a share without its arguments being heard. In fact, though the KWDT-2 has announced its award, it has not yet come into force due to the objections raised by the united Andhra Pradesh.

The Tribunal’s stand was that the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act is applicable only to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Tribunal would award the allocations made for united Andhra Pradesh between Telangana and successor state of Andhra Pradesh.

According to the latest order of the KWDT-2, the Section 89 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act that extended the term of KWDT-2 is applicable only to the two sibling states that were bifurcated as per the said act.

Therefore, says the tribunal, the act cannot be applied to the two upper riparian states, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The tribunal order also states that there was nothing in the Section 89 of the Reorganization Act, nullifying the award of the tribunal so far.

Before going into the other dimensions of the KWDT award and the disputes thereby, a plain reading of the Section 89 of the State Reorganisation Act is appropriate here. The said section reads as follows:

The term of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal shall be extended with the following terms of reference, namely:–– (a) shall make project-wise specific allocation, if such allocation have not been made by a Tribunal constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956; (b) shall determine an operational protocol for project-wise release of water in the event of deficit flows.
But, the issues before the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal or KWDT-2 are not just confined to the State Reorganisation Act alone.

The united Andhra Pradesh itself and later the two successor states rejected the tribunal award and urged the Supreme Court for justice. But, the KWDT-2 instead of looking at the original appeal has just confined itself to the question of reallocation among four riparian states subsequent to the state reorganisation. Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will lose their rightful share due to this truncated and limited perception of the problem by the KWDT-2.

There are three aspects in the entire dispute over the Brijesh Kumar Mishra Tribunal award and the subsequent developments: First, the plea of the united Andhra Pradesh to comprehensively review this tribunal award; Secondly, review of the agreements reached out between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh at the Apex Board meeting; and thirdly, implementation of the Section 89 of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorgansiation Act.

These three aspects need to be looked at in totality. Any isolated view of the above three aspects would create contradictions and further complicate the Krishna water sharing among the riparian states.

The united Andhra Pradesh itself felt that the state’s interests were seriously compromised by the award of the KWDT-2 in several ways. As per the KWDT-1 also called as Bachawat tribunal, the united Andhra Pradesh had liberty to use surplus waters. The united State asked the KWDT-2 to convert this freedom into a right. Instead, the tribunal has removed that liberty and allocated even the surplus waters among the riparian States.

This will upset many projects planned with a hope on surplus water. These projects planned and being planned are located in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Therefore, the two states are to lose heavily if the KWDT-2 award is not reviewed afresh.

The formula adopted by the KWDT-2 is erroneous for several reasons. The yearly river yields were arrived at on the basis of 65 per cent dependability whereas the KWDT-1 Award was based on 75 per cent dependability. Lower the dependability ratio, greater the loss for the lower riparian states.

Similarly, the Bachawat Tribunal calculations were on the basis of a longer period of 78 years, whereas the Brijesh Kumar tribunal used only 47 years as a frame of reference. In fact, the united State asked for 112 years.

The upper riparian States, Karnataka and Maharashtra, are resorting to multiple ways of hurting the interests of lower riparian States. Instead of addressing the grievances of the united Andhra Pradesh, the Brijesh Kumar Mishra tribunal went ahead and legitimised these illegal acts of upper riparian States.

Besides, the KWDT-2 has allowed Karnataka to raise the height of Almatti dam. This would severely restrict the water flows into the Srisailam and the Nagarjuna Sagar projects in the downstream. Sharing of waters in distress years remains a challenge. The KWDT-2 failed to address the problem.
Precisely for these reasons, Karnataka and Maharashtra are resisting the allocation of Krishna waters afresh among the four riparian States. The reorganisation of Andhra Pradesh was effected even before the KWDT-2 came into operation. Therefore, the demand for a fresh allocation is justified along with a comprehensive reappraisal of the whole award.

Indian jurisprudence reveals that normally Supreme Court takes into cognisance the tribunal awards to pronounce its verdict. Courts usually intervene when the tribunal awards are violated. Now, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are planning to seek apex court intervention for justice.

Nothing wrong in that. But, the possibility is always questionable. Therefore, the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments should jointly work out a strategy to ensure a comprehensive review of the KWDT-2 award. Otherwise, many of the projects planned in both the states will be in a serious jeopardy.

Telangana is alleging that Andhra Pradesh is drawing excess water from Pothireddypadu head. Andhra Pradesh calls the projects planned by Telangana like Palamuru-Ranga Reddy and Dindi projects illegal.

Instead of addressing the comprehensive injustice done by the KWDT-2 award, the two states are bogged down in mutual differences to the detriment of both. Both the states should independently and jointly work out strategies to resolve the differences between them and strive for a fresh award from the tribunal.

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