Experts for immediate fixing of KRMB jurisdiction to end feud over Krishna water

Amaravati, July 11:

The Central government should without any further delay issue a notification for fixing of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) jurisdiction over the different projects in the river. Irrigation experts with vast experience in interstate irrigation have prepared a detailed note to stress the importance in fixing KRMB jurisdiction .

The note gives in detail the efforts made in the past to fix the jurisdiction of the board.

NOTE ON JURISDICTION OF PROJECTS TO KRMB

➢ In pursuance to the provisions of the A.P. Reorg. Act 2014, the GOI has constituted Apex Council vide Gazette notification dated 29th May 2014 and Krishna River Management Board vide notification dated 28th May 2014.

➢ The Krishna and Godavari River Management boards constituted under Section 85(1) of the AP Re-organisation Act, 2014 are autonomous bodies under the administrative control of the Central Government.

➢ As per terms of the Sec. 87 of AP Reorg Act (1) the Board shall ordinarily exercise jurisdiction on Godavari and Krishna rivers in regard to any of the projects over headworks (barrages, dams, reservoirs, regulating structures), part of canal network and transmission lines necessary to deliver water or power to the States concerned, as may be notified by the Central Government, having regard to the awards, if any, made by the Tribunals constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956., and (2) If any question arises as to whether the Board has jurisdiction under sub-section (1) over any project referred thereto, the same shall be referred to the Central Government for decision thereon.

➢ Central Government is empowered to initiate process for notifying Jurisdiction of Boards already constituted by it, even if the States have divergent views as the Section 87 of AP Reorganisation Act 2014 is stand alone provision to regulate the flows and releases to the successors states AP and Telangana and cannot be linked with Section 89 of AP Reorg. Act 2014.

➢ Implementation of Sec. 87 is not fettered by the outcome of the ongoing proceeding of the Tribunal contrary to the view ( not to notify Jurisdiction until project Specific allocations are made) sought to be imposed by the State of Telangana. In fact, obviously, Sec. 87 occurs prior to the Sec. 89 in the Act and is in no way controlled by the subsequent Sec. 89.

➢ Section 89 of Act 2014 mandates KWDT-II to make project wise specific allocation and determine the operational protocol in the event of deficit flows for project wise releases of water. This section does not preclude notification of Jurisdiction to the Board.

➢ In the absence of jurisdiction the Board is unable to exercise its authority in management of reservoirs of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, particularly common reservoirs of Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar. Also it could not restrain States from constructing new projects.

➢ The chairman, KRMB informed the participants in its fourth board meeting held on 27-05-2016 that the draft notification of the Jurisdiction of the Board had been prepared by the Secretariat after discussions held with the Principal Secretaries of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on the issue of Jurisdiction on 07-12-2015. The same was also reported to the Ministry of WR, RD & GR, GoI. The copy of the draft notification was also circulated to all the members for their information.

➢ The KRMB has rightly circulated the draft notification for Jurisdiction of the Board as required under Section 87 (1) of AP Re-organisation Act, 2014 as lack of clarity on the Jurisdiction of KRMB will only lead to the delay in implementation and enforcement of its constitutional mandate.

➢ Then, Vide D.O. Letter dated 31-05-2016 addressed to the Hon’ble Union Water Resources Minister, GoI, Sushri Uma Bharati, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana requested the ministry to not issue the Draft Notification of the Jurisdiction of the KRMB (Circulated during the Board meeting held on 27-05-2016) citing among other reasons that the Draft Notification is not in accordance with the provisions of the AP Re-organisation Act, 2014.

➢ Vide D.O. Letter Dated 06-06-2016 addressed to the Hon’ble Union Water Resources Minister, GoI Sushri Uma Bharati, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh among other things refuted the objections raised by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Telangana and explained the challenges being faced without the notification of the Jurisdiction of KRMB and sought notification of Jurisdiction to KRMB.

➢ The State of Telangana contrary to its own averment in its SLP, formulating New Schemes on surplus waters or flood waters to an extent of 90 TMC (Palamuru-Ranga Reddy LIS) and 30 TMC (Dindi LIS) from the foreshore of Srisailam appear to be imprudent without the approval of KRMB and the Apex Council as mandated in the AP Re-organisation Act, 2014 and it shows their lack of seriousness in adhering to rules and procedures framed by the Central Government .This will adversely affect the interests of the public in the both the States. As a consequence, the ongoing projects based surplus/flood waters to the extent of 227.50 TMC will be adversely affected.

➢ Central Government has elicited the views of both the States of AP and Telangana on issue of notification of Jurisdiction to KRMB twice even though it is not mandatory process. States have submitted their views to The Board and Board submitted it to the Central Government after examining the views of the States back in 2017. Thence, it has been pending for notification.

➢ On 15-02-2018, Interstate meeting held in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of Secretary,MoWR, it was opined that in the absence of notification of jurisdiction,KRMB and GRMB were not in a position to exercise powers effectively and therefore , pending Project wise allocations ,Jurisdiction of Boards might be notified and amendments could made to it, if required, after KWDT-II report.A draft notification of KRMB Jurisdiction was also submitted to the Ministry by KRMB on 4-5-2018.

➢ In the second Apex council meeting held on 6-10-2020 ,it was decided that the Jurisdiction of GRMB and KRMB should be notified. The Honourable CM,TS was disagreement with this and the Honourable Union Minister and Chairman,Apex Council clarified that it is the Central Government prerogative for notification as per AP Act,2014 and would be notified as per express mandate of Act.

➢ In the absence of jurisdiction to KRMB over projects, Telangana, being an upper riparian State is taking advantage with consequent adverse impacts on farmer interests in the lower riparian State of A.P. The past years have witnessed untimely and delayed water release by authorities in Telangana from the Srisailam & Nagarjunasagar reservoirs, despite clear orders of the KRMB.

➢ Any further delay in notification of the Jurisdiction will only lead to the continued inoperability of the functions of the KRMB, defeat the very purpose of the creating the Board under the AP Re-organisation Act, 2014 and only prove to be detrimental to the interest of the people of Andhra Pradesh.

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