Brijesh Tribunal Reopened Issues Settled by Bachawat, AP to Argue in Court - The New Indian Express

Brijesh Tribunal Reopened Issues Settled by Bachawat, AP to Argue in Court

Published: 26th December 2013 09:27 AM

Last Updated: 26th December 2013 09:27 AM

The state government, fighting a legal battle against the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal on Krishna waters, is likely to argue that the tribunal has opened issues that have been settled in Bachawat Award and also did not follow the 75 per cent dependability, a national norm in sharing river waters among states.

Besides, the state government is also of the opinion that the tribunal encroached upon the matters falling within the exclusive sphere of legislature by assuming the jurisdiction of the Parliament, as it framed Krishna Waters Decision-Implementation Board (KWDIB).

All these issues were discussed by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when Kiran led an all-party delegation. The state government argues that it was an established practice in the country that farmers are ensured reliable supplies at least in three out of four years, to sustain their  livelihood and as rightly recommended by the Second Irrigation Commission, 1972.

The government is of the opinion that major irrigation projects in the country like Bhakra Nangal (Punjab), Gandhi Sagar (Madhya Pradesh), Sardar Sarovar Dam (Gujarat), Hirakud Dam (Orissa), Ujjaini Dam (Madhya Pradesh), Koyna Dam (Maharashtra), Ujjani Dam (Maharashtra), Tungabhadra Dam, Bhadra Reservoir (Karnataka), Nagarjuna Sagar and  Srisailam Dam (Andhra Pradesh) etc. have all been designed, constructed and are being operated at 75 per cent dependability.

The operation of projects at different dependabilities would become a norm if the order of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal was allowed to become effective. The Brijesh Kumar Tribunal, by lowering the dependability from 75 per cent to 65 and thereon to average has shown that more water is available for distribution.  Meanwhile, the Central government in its Reference Petition before the tribunal, submitted that there were no directions in the award to decide the share of each State under different conditions of water availability and particularly in distress situation under different scenarios.

The central government also stated that the Krishna Waters Decision Implementation Board, envisaged by the KWDT-2, would have to address these issues. However, the issues raised by the central government have also not been addressed by the KWDT-2 in its final  report.     

Several settled issues like adoption of 75 per cent dependability, restrictions imposed by the earlier tribunal (KWDT-I), extent of westward diversion, provision of 150 tmc of carry over after 2,130 tmc, etc have been unsettled.  The Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 states that any dispute settled by Water Disputes Tribunals before the commencement of the Amendment Act (14 of 2002) shall not be reopened.  By virtue of the above Act, all the matters settled before the KWDT-I cannot be reopened. Despite this, the KWDT-2 altered the dependability factor by introducing 65 per cent dependability and average.

Several other issues unsettled by the Tribunal are: The Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act of 1956 stipulates that the power to make a Scheme to implement the decision is vested with the Central government. The Act also provides that every scheme and every regulation framed under the scheme has mandatorily to be laid in each house of Parliament. The KWDT-2 by assuming this jurisdiction has framed a scheme named Krishna Waters Decision- Implementation Board, thereby encroaching upon the sphere of legislature.

The KWDT-2  held in its report that the manner of utilisation under Scheme-A is retained and continues to be the same. “Here we would like to press upon that utilisation of 150 tmc was an integral part of manner of utilisation immediately after 75 per cent dependable allocation made by the KWDT-1 to the AP.  But, the KWDT-2 has now disturbed this arrangement by making it available at lower dependabilities i.e. 30 tmc at 65 per cent dependability and 120 tmc out of average flows. This arrangement will irrevocably alter the arrangement of 150 tmc being conjoined with 811 tmc at 75 per cent dependability, as 150 tmc serves the objective of timely water need under 811 tmc. Pushing 150 tmc to average dependability will alter the arrangement of realising the flows in Nagarjuna Sagar and Delta at the mercy of cyclones and floods.

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