Centre okays ToR  of Krishna Water Tribunal for AP, TS

However, serious concerns have been raised over the possible adverse impact of the Union cabinet decision. 
Krishna river. (File Photo)
Krishna river. (File Photo)

VIJAYAWADA: In a significant victory for Telangana, marking the end of a nine-year struggle, the Union government on Wednesday decided to give fresh terms of reference (ToR) to the existing Brijesh Kumar Tribunal.

Speaking to reporters, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said the tribunal will allocate water on a project-wise basis for projects in both states that are intended for developmental or future purposes.

However, serious concerns have been raised over the possible adverse impact of the Union cabinet decision. 

“Where is the need for a new ToR or new tribunal, when the water sharing between Krishna River riparian states was already decided? If the ToR of the tribunal is meant for the division of water between the two states, then it is unacceptable. If there has to be re-division, let it be for all the riparian states of Krishna river,” said an irrigation expert from Andhra Pradesh. 

As per the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-1), the undivided Andhra Pradesh got 811 TMC as its share of Krishna water.  

New terms of reference will have an adverse impact on AP, opines Bojja

Later, the same was divided as 511 TMC for Andhra (including Rayalaseema) and 299 TMC for Telangana based on command area and utilisation. However, Telangana has been crying foul seeking a majority share of water post the bifurcation of states in 2014. In fact, when Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao had put forward the demand for an equal share of allocated water (50:50) instead of a 34:66 ratio (ad-hoc arrangement of 2015) between Telangana and AP in 2021, it was opposed. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing his concerns.

He complained about the illegal and indiscriminate drawl of water by the neighbouring State for power generation in violation of water-sharing agreements. Explaining how the whimsical acts of Telangana government were resulting in the wastage of precious water and depriving AP of its rightful share, Jagan had urged Modi to notify the jurisdiction of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and take over the operation of all common reservoirs. Later, in a letter to the Ministry of Jal Shakti, the Water Resources department secretary said that the provisions of KWDT-1 inherently contain the equitable principle of “ipso jure continuity of territories and treaties.”

Thus, Telangana cannot seek a review of the decision of KWDT-1 under the guise of alleged historical injustice and the same cannot form part of the water dispute under Section 2 (c) of the ISRWD Act. When contacted, higher officials of the water resources department and the Chief Minister’s office refused to comment on the Centre’s decision stating they would be going through the terms of reference. Bojja Dasaratha Ramireddy of Rayalaseema Saguneeti Sadhana Samithi expressed his reservation over the Centre’s decision, stating if the new terms of reference are for redistribution of Krishna river water between the states, then it would have an adverse impact on Andhra Pradesh. “Already project-wise allocations were made and States were given the right to redistribute them in their own territory. The demand of Telangana for an equal share of 811 TMC is illogical,” he said.

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