In what is being considered as a major blow to the Telangana farmer, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the Maharashtra government could go ahead with the Babli project. While delivering its final judgment, the apex court constituted a three-member committee to oversee sharing of Godavari water between Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. One member each from AP and Maharashtra and a member from the Central government’s side will constitute the committee.
While delivering the judgment, the apex court directed the Maharashtra government not to use more than 2.47 tmc of water from Godavari and release 0.6 tmc for the needs of Andhra Pradesh.
Analists consider it as a big blow to the interests of Telangana, where around 18 lakh acres are supposed to receive water from Sri Ram Sagar Project (SRSP). The SRSP could release water only if Maharashtra releases from the Babli project. The storage capacity of SRSP was 112 tmc, which got reduced to 87 tmc due to silt. Babli was constructed in backwaters of SRSP and it could take water from the project too, as SRSP is at a height of 17.5 feet above Babli.
Opposing the construction of Babli, Congress MP Madhu Yashki Goud filed a writ petition (civil) in 2006 in the Supreme Court. The State government impleaded in the case one year later. The apex court started hearings in March 2008 and completed in November 2012.
In its judgment, the apex court stated categorically that it could not remove Babli project totally. The AP government argued that it should be removed to protect the interests of the farmers of Telangana.
Reacting to the verdict, Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar said in Delhi that the state government should file a review petition in the SC. The three-member committee would not be of any help. If the Maharashtra government erected gates to the Babli project following the SC verdict, Telangana would go bone dry.
TDP leader Erraballi Dayakar Rao, who was upset over the SC judgment, wept before the media. He said the Telangana farmer would suffer heavily due to the verdict. “We fought legally and politically. But there is no use,” Dayakar Rao said while blaming the Congress government for its ineffective arguments in the SC.
When contacted, major irrigation minister Peddi Sudarshan Reddy said he would convene a meeting with officials on the SC verdict on Friday and react only after that. The minister was on tour of Nizamabad on Thursday.
Asked whether the government would file a review petition in the SC, the minister said any decision would be taken only after a discussion.