HYDERABAD: The State government has decided to approach the Supreme Court over the ‘inordinate delay’ by the Union government in referring the Krishna river water-sharing issue between the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to a tribunal.
On Sunday, sources with the Irrigation department told The New Indian Express, “Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has given the in-principle nod for filing the case in the apex court. The draft is ready. We are currently vetting the draft and taking legal opinions. We will move the Supreme Court shortly.”
While Section 3 of the Interstate River Water Disputes (IRWD) Act, 1956, gives the State government the right to request the Union government to refer the water dispute to a tribunal for adjudication, the matter has reportedly been pending for over two years. “(The act of) not referring the matter to a tribunal, even after being assured by the Centre two years ago, is nothing but political vengeance,” a senior official said.
A team of irrigation officials, led by Special Chief Secretary (Irrigation) Rajat Kumar, will be in New Delhi on November 29 to attend the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting of the Central Water Commission (CWC). They are likely to discuss the detailed reports of the Chinna Kaleshwaram, Choutpally Hanumanth Reddy and Chanaka-Korata projects. During their visit to the national capital, the senior officials will also consult legal luminaries on the Krishna river water-sharing case, sources said.
In October 2021, the Supreme Court allowed Telangana to withdraw the case filed in 2014, enabling the Centre to refer the Krishna water row between the two States to a tribunal. This was after Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat requested the State government to withdraw the case during the second Apex Council meeting held on October 6, 2020.
Later, the State withdrew its case “unconditionally”. However, in the past year, the Centre did not take any decision on referring the matter to the Tribunal, an official pointed out.Sources said that even nine years after the formation of the State, Telangana had no clarity on its water share when it comes to the Krishna river. The ongoing case in the Tribunal was confined just to Section 89 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
“The present case in the Tribunal under Section 89 deals only with the project-wise allocation of water to Telangana and AP. The ToR under Section 89 has limited scope. We want a fresh look into the water sharing issue between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in respect to Krishna river,” officials said.
They recalled that Telangana had written to the Centre in July 2014, a month after the formation of the State. “When the State wrote a letter to the Centre stating that it should resolve the matter through dialogue within one year or refer the matter to the Tribunal, the Centre didn’t react to the letter, forcing the State to approach the apex court in 2015. However, Telangana withdrew the same case last year with the hope that the Centre would keep its assurance,” an official said.
July 2014: Telangana writes to Centre on the Krishna water-sharing issue
2015: Telangana files case in Supreme Court with a request to refer the matter to a tribunal
October 2020: Jal Shakti Minister requests Telangana to withdraw the case and assures that the Centre will refer the matter to the tribunal
October 2021: Telangana withdraws the case
The Centre is yet to refer the matter
November 2022: Telangana decides to approach SC again
No clarity on Krishna water sharing
Sources said that even nine years after the formation of the State, Telangana had no clarity on its water share when it comes to the Krishna river.