Andhra unhappy, Karnataka welcomes Krishna river water sharing award

Thursday, December 30, 2010

HYDERABAD/BANGALORE - Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh Thursday reacted sharply to the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal’s award on sharing of surplus water with neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra while Karnataka has welcomed it.

While the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh has not yet come out with its reaction, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said injustice had been done to the state.

The TDP leaders voiced their apprehension that the award would affect the state’s interests and also hit the irrigation projects taken up across Krishna River.

With the tribunal allowing Karnataka to raise the height of Almatti dam, the opposition party said this would also impact major dams like Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar.

Andhra Pradesh was so far free to use surplus water but now even this right has been taken away by the tribunal, said senior TDP leader K. Yerran Naidu.

He said the verdict would hit the irrigation projects taken up across Krishna on the basis of surplus water. “The state government should own the responsibility for this verdict of the tribunal. It failed to present the state’s case effectively before the tribunal,” Naidu said

Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary K. Narayana said the tribunal’s award was a big blow to the state.

However, Karnataka has welcomed the verdict. “It is a historic day for Karnataka,” Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said noting the tribunal had awarded Karnataka 911 tmc of water and allowed it to raise the height of the Almatti dam to 524.4 metres from the present 519 metres.

Andhra Pradesh was objecting to the raising of the height of the dam at Almatti in Bijapur district in north Karnataka.

The river Krishna takes birth at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and on its 1,300 km journey to the Bay of Bengal it passes through Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Hailing the verdict, Yeddyurappa said his government “will do its best to utilise the water”.

The three states share the water under a complex formula comprising A and B schemes. The share is on the basis of the dependability of water availability in the river, which is determined by the rains.

Karnataka had sought 278 tmc of water under B scheme, but the tribunal has given it 177 tmc. With this Karnataka gets a total share of 911 TMC of water a year under the two schemes.

The tribunal has also directed that Karnataka has to release 8-10 tmc to Andhra Pradesh during June-July every year.

The tribunal has given Andhra Pradesh a total share of 1,001 tmc and Maharashtra 666 tmc.

Till Thursday’s award Andhra’s share was 811 tmc, Karnataka 734 tmc and Maharashtra 585 tmc.

The tribunal, headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, a retired judge of the Supreme Court, also said the central government would set up the Krishna Water Implementation Board after three months for implementation of the award.

Thursday’s award would be valid till May 31, 2050. The tribunal was set up in April 2004.

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