The Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh immediately responded to the Memorandum submitted by the All-party delegation from Andhra Pradesh led by the Chief Minister Mr N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and ordered for a detailed study on the objections of Andhra Pradesh on Brijesh Kumar Tribunal decision. The Chief Minister and the delegation thanked the Prime Minister for his immediate response.
The All Party delegation led by the Chief Minister Mr. N. Kiran Kumar Reddy today morning met the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at New Delhi and presented a memorandum requesting the Prime Minister to intervene to ensure due justice to Andhra Pradesh on the Brijish Kumar Tribunal verdict on Krishna Waters Dispute.
The Memorandum submitted by the Chief Minister said “Keeping all the precarious situations and the further sufferings burdened upon by the Tribunal, we the representatives of all political parties of Andhra Pradesh in one voice with a fortiori, request you sir to intervene and show a benign attitude in ensuing due justice to the State of Andhra Pradesh as the decision of Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal has the potential to inflict immense injury upon the State of Andhra Pradesh.
The Chief Minister also said that the All Party delegation requested the Prime Minister that the Government of India should implead in the Supreme Court case in support of Andhra Pradesh. The delegation told the Prime Minister that the decision of Tribunal will have affect all over the country..
Following is the full text of the Memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister by the all party delegation led by the Chief Minister Mr N Kiran Kumar Reddy:
“The decision by Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal (Krishna Waters Disputes Tribunal-II in short KWDT-II), was rendered on 30.12.2010, and the subsequent further report was delivered on 29-11-2013. The above decision of the Tribunal will have immense negative impact on the agrarian scenario & the economy of Andhra Pradesh.
The State of Andhra Pradesh, with ascetic patience expected that KWDT-II would do the justice in their Further Report rendered on 29.11.2013, but instead the State of Andhra Pradesh has been put to permanent & irreparable loss as a result of this judgment. Widespread remonstrations from the entire farmer community of the State, as well as the general public, and the political parties have become order of the day, since the decision.
I am leading this All Party Delegation, to meet you, to impress upon you, the serious repercussions arising from this decision, not only for the State of Andhra Pradesh, but also for the entire country. The specific concerns of the State of Andhra Pradesh are mentioned, as hereunder:
A) Change of National/International norms for calculating dependability for feasibility of projects
KWDT-I distributed the waters of river Krishna, at 75% dependability, whereas the Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal (KWDT-II) distributed waters of river Krishna up to average flows, at different dependabilities i.e.75%, 65% and average, notwithstanding the national norm of 75% dependability and the recommendations of the Second Irrigation Commission, 1972 that the farmers should be assured of getting water in 3 out of 4 years.
The Central Water Commission clears the projects planned only on 75% dependability, which is a national norm. None of the Tribunals in India have distributed river waters at different dependabilities. Here, we would like to mention that the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal apportioned the available water to the extent of only utilizable flows at 75% dependability. It is also relevant that in the Wyoming Vs. Colorado case of the United States of America, it was clearly observed that the supply (of water) must be fairly continuous and dependable.
The dependability factor in any river is so vital, that the entire planning and investment of irrigation projects is dependent upon this very important factor. It is an established practice in India, that the farmers are to be ensured reliable supplies, at least in 3 out of 4 years, to sustain their livelihood and as rightly recommended by the Second Irrigation Commission, 1972. Major irrigation projects in India 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) Nagarjunasagar & Srisailam Dam (Andhra Pradesh) etc. have all been designed, constructed and are being operated at 75% dependability. The operation of projects at different dependabilities would become a norm, if this Order were allowed to become effective.
The Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal, by lowering the dependability from 75% to 65%, and thereon to average has shown that more water is available for distribution. This more water is nothing but surplus water, the availability of which is highly variable and is less dependable. Farmers cannot be left to fend for themselves on such uncertain waters, when it is a known fact that the entire economy of our Country is driven by agriculture.
The decision of Hon’ble KWDT-II, has become a serious problem to the State of Andhra Pradesh, as many projects were taken up based on surplus Waters for drought and fluoride-affected areas of the Telangana and Rayalaseema regions of the State. Huge investments have already been made in the irrigation sector to develop the projects based on the Surplus waters of river Krishna and serving the drought and fluoride-affected areas in Telangana and Rayalaseema regions of the State. This investment will become in fructuous.
B) Injustice to Andhra Pradesh
The flows of water in the river Krishna are of a peculiar nature. The river experiences meager flows in one in every four years, which creates a drought like situation in the entire basin. The river is also subject to frequent floods in other years, which cause immense devastation. The floods & cyclone of 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2013 have caused immense havoc in the State.
The KWDT-I (Justice Bachawat) did not provide for a distress sharing formula in its decision. However, recognizing the basin disadvantage of Andhra Pradesh, as a lower riparian State, it has given to Andhra Pradesh, the liberty to use all surplus waters over & above 2130 TMC in a water year, while at the same time not creating a right for Andhra Pradesh. The liberty given by the Tribunal has mitigated to some extent the distress faced by the farmers of Andhra Pradesh, during the drought years and compensated for the losses suffered by the farmers during the floods and cyclone.
The liberty to use the surplus water is now curtailed by assuming the availability of water & redistributing the waters below 75% dependability & up to average flows by the KWDT-II decision. Even while redistributing the waters below 75 % dependability the KWDT-II has given only 44 TMC to Andhra Pradesh out of 298 TMC redistributed i.e. only about 15 %. Thus, Andhra Pradesh while facing the brunt of both floods & droughts, faces a double whammy, since it’s liberty to use the surplus flows available earlier, is now curtailed & since it gets meager allocation from the redistributed flows.
This aspect of the Tribunal’s decision has caused immense injury to the interest of the farmers of Andhra Pradesh & is a reason for serious concern. Further, the KWDT-II has permitted Almatti Dam height to 524.256 M, which will seriously affect the interest of the farmers of Andhra Pradesh, thereby leading to the late sowing of the crops and becoming vulnerable to the October – December, cyclones. The KWDT has further allocated 36 TMC of water in Tungabhadra basin for Karnataka, which will adversely affect the inflows to Andhra Pradesh, which already suffers from meager inflows in RDS as well as KC Canal and inflows to Srisailam.
C) Impracticality of implementation of the KWDT-II Judgment
The adoption of different dependability by Justice Brijesh Kumar Tribunal would result in three sets of projects, one at 75% dependability, other at 65% dependability and third at average and operation of all the three sets of projects would become near-impossible task for any State Government. It would invite trouble not only from the beneficiaries of one State but also from the beneficiaries of co-riparian districts within Andhra Pradesh.
The mechanism of water distribution by KWDT-II would make the operational schedule of projects impossible, as the priority of one over the other can never be decided by any Government. We cannot postpone the need of one project overlooking the needs of the other. This will create regional & intra regional discontent and acrimony.
D) Stand of Government of India In KWDT-II
The Central Government in its Reference Petition before the Hon’ble Tribunal, submitted that there were no directions in the Award dated 30.12.2010 to decide about the share of each State under different conditions of water availability and particularly in distress situation under different scenario and that the Krishna Waters Decision Implementation Board, envisaged by KWDT-II, will have to address these issues. Ironically, the above issue raised by Central Government has also not been addressed by KWDT-II in its Further Report rendered on 29.11.2013.
E) Unsettling of settled issues
Several settled issues like adoption of 75% dependability, restrictions imposed by earlier Tribunal (KWDT-I), extent of westward diversion, provision of 150 TMC of carryover after 2130 TMC etc have been unsettled.
F) Legal Aspects
Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 states that any dispute settled by Water Disputes Tribunals before the commencement of Amendment Act (14 of 2002) shall not be reopened. By virtue of the above Act, all the matters settled before KWDT-I cannot be reopened. Despite this, KWDT-II altered the dependability factor by introducing 65% dependability and average. Several other issues unsettled by the Hon’ble Tribunal are enunciated below.
a) 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. KWDT-II by assuming this jurisdiction has framed a scheme named Krishna Waters Decision- Implementation Board (KWDIB), thereby encroaching upon the matter falling within the exclusive sphere of legislature.
b) KWDT-II expressly held in its Further Report rendered on 29.11.2013 that the manner of utilization under Scheme-A is retained and continues to be the same. Here we would like to press upon that utilization of 150 TMC was an integral part of manner of utilization immediately after 75% dependable allocation made by KWDT-I to the State of Andhra Pradesh. But, KWDT-II has now disturbed this arrangement by making it available at lower dependabilities i.e. 30 TMC at 65% dependability and 120 TMC out of average flows. This arrangement by the Tribunal will irrevocably alter the arrangement of 150 TMC being conjoined with 811 TMC at 75% dependability, as 150 TMC serves the objective of timely water requirement under 811 TMC. Pushing 150 TMC to average dependability will alter the arrangement of realizing the flows in Nagarjunasagar and Krishna Delta completely at the mercy of cyclones and floods.
G) Present Status
The State of Andhra Pradesh filed Special Leave Petition (SLP) No.10498/2011 against the decision of KWDT-II dated 30.12.2010 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court on 28.03.2011 and a stay petition (IA – 3/2011) in Special Leave Petition (SLP) 10498/2011 on 11.07.2011 to stay the operation of the decision of KWDT II, and to stay further proceedings under section 5(3) of the Act on the Reference Petitions filed by the party States and the Central Government.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court, after hearing the above IA-3/2011 on 16.09.2011, directed the Union Government not to publish the decision of KWDT-II in the Official Gazette under Section 6(1) of ISRWD Act 1956 pending disposal of Special Leave Petition (SLP).
The Hon’ble Tribunal rendered its Further Report on 29.11.2013 thereby pushing the State to an unenviable situation.
All these years, we have been suffering from the vagaries and extremities of monsoon and drought. The State of Andhra Pradesh being the lowest riparian State, has to depend substantially on the releases from upper riparian States to realize its allocated share of water.
In recent years, we have witnessed a series of cyclones & floods hitting the coastal districts and severely affecting the harvesting period of Khariff crop causing huge damage to the inhabitants, in the Delta region of river Krishna.