New Delhi: In a significant development, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal on Thursday pronounced its verdict on sharing of the river water with Andhra Pradesh getting the biggest share, followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra.
In a 2000-page judgment, the tribunal also directed the three contesting states not to divert water for any other purpose other than the purpose decided by the tribunal.
As per the verdict, out of total water available, Andhra Pradesh will get 1,001 tmc-feet, Karnataka`s share will be 911 tmc-feet and Maharashtra will have to do with 666 tmc-feet.
Out of surplus river water, Karnataka gets 177 tmc-feet followed by Maharashtra (81 tmc-feet) and Andhra Pradesh (190 tmc-feet).
The Tribunal headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar also allowed more water to be stored in the Almati Dam in Karnataka. With this order, 524 metres of the dam height could
be used to store the Krishna water from its earlier 519 metre.
The Centre will set up the Krishna Water Implementation Board after three months for implementation of the award.
"The states who want to file a review or seek explanation on the award can do so within the next three months," Justice Kumar told reporters.
Both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have welcomed the decision of the tribunal. However, Maharashtra has announced that it will appeal against the tribunal’s judgement.
It is understood that the award will be valid by May 31, 2050. Since the Tribunal has the force and decree of the Supreme Court, no appeal against the award can be filed in any
other court except the tribunal itself.
The judgment came six years after the tribunal led by Justice Brijesh Kumar was constituted to adjudicate sharing of surplus water of Krishna River between riparian states Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
According to the award given by the Bacchawat Commission in 1974, Maharashtra was granted 560 tmc-feet water, Karnataka 700 tmc-feet and Andhra Pradesh 800 tmc-feet . The Bacchwat Commission had observed that the validity of its award will be till the year 2000, after which the allocation could be reviewed by another commission.
Maharashtra, which is the upper riparian state, contends that various surveys by central government agencies that have confirmed that the additional 300 tmc-feet of water exists in Krishna valley and it should be distributed among the all three states which share Krishna river water.
However, Andhra Pradesh has objected to the plea on grounds that, Maharashtra and Karnataka have failed to utilise their share of the water awarded by the Bacchwat Commission, so the commission should award the unutilised water which includes the 300 tmc in question to Andhra.
Surely, the stakes were high for Andhra as the verdict will have a direct bearing on some of the major irrigation projects – costing more than Rs 50,000 - being taken up by the state government in all the three regions of the state.