New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday declined the plea of Andhra Pradesh government against the construction of Babhali barrage by Maharashtra in Nanded district for utilising the water of Godavari river.
The apex court said, "On the basis of facts which have come on record, a case of substantial injury of a serious magnitude and high equity that moves the conscience of the court has not been made out by Andhra Pradesh justifying grant of injunction.
"In light of the above, we hold that Andhra Pradesh is not entitled to the reliefs, as prayed for, in the suit," a bench of justices R M Lodha, T S Thakur and A R Dave said.
However, the bench constituted a three-member supervisory committee having one representative from the Central Water Commission (CWC) and one representative each from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, with CWC representative being the chairman of the committee.
The committee has been tasked with supervising the operation of the Babhali barrage and to ensure Maharashtra maintains storage capacity of 2.74 TMC feet of water out of the allocation of 60 TMC feet given to the state for new projects under an agreement of October 6, 1975 between the two states.
Further, the bench said that the committee will look that "the gates of Babhali barrage remain lifted during the monsoon season, i.e, July 1 to October 28 and there is no obstruction to the natural flow of Godavari river during monsoon season below the three dams, Paithan, Siddheswar and Nizamsagar, towards Pochampad dam".
The committee has to also ensure that "During the non- monsoon season i.E., from October 29 till the end of June next year, the quantity of water which Maharashtra utilises for Babhali barrage does not exceed 2.74 TMC feet of which only 0.6 TMC feet forms the common submergence of Pochampad reservoir and Babhali barrage and Maharashtra does not periodically utilise 2.74 TMC feet from time to time."
The apex court said the committee has to ensure that "Maharashtra releases 0.6 TMC feet of water to Andhra Pradesh on March 1 every year and it maintains the capacity of Balegaon barrage to 1.5 TMC feet..."
Andhra Pradesh had alleged that Maharashtra had violated terms of the agreement of 1975 between the two states by constructing the Babhali barrage in the reservoir/water spread area of Pochampad project of Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh had termed the construction of the barrage as illegal and unauthorised, since it would deprive the state in general and its inhabitants in particular in the districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda, Khammam and Medak of having water for irrigation and drinking purposes.
Maharashtra had opposed the plea of Andhra Pradesh saying saying that as per the 1975 agreement, construction of projects for using its share of water is its prerogative and the only cap is that the utilisation should not exceed 60 TMC feet of water.