New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Monday counselled Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Andhra
Pradesh to exercise restraint on the controversial Babhli
barrage issue, which is pending before the Supreme Court.
Singh and Union Water Resources Minister P K Bansal held
a meeting with Ashok Chavan and K Rosaiah, the chief ministers
of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, respectively, in the wake
of attempts by TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu to revive the
issue of Babhli barrage two weeks back.
Leaders from Andhra Pradesh have claimed that Maharashtra
has gone ahead with construction of the barrage and thus
violated the apex court`s interim orders.
"During the discussions it was noted that the matter was
pending before the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court was
likely to adjudicate on its own," Bansal told reporters
after the hour-long meeting.
In the meantime, the leaders agreed that the two states
would "strictly abide" by the interim ruling of the Supreme
Court on the matter.
"The Central Water Commission would continue to verify
the compliance of the Supreme Court interim order by the
states," Bansal said.
Andhra Pradesh had taken the matter on the Babhli
barrage to court in 2005, a year after the construction began,
apprehending that it would be denied its due share of the
waters of river Godavari.
In an interim order in 2007, the apex court said
Maharashtra could continue with the construction of the
barrage but not install the 13 gates, which form the most
crucial part as their height determines how much water can be
Babhli barrage is being constructed on Godavari river
around 83 km from Nanded. Maharashtra claims the barrage will
extend water supply to 58 villages and irrigate 7,995 hectares
Andhra Pradesh has claimed that the construction of the
barrage will alter the natural flow of Godavari in their state
and affect the agriculture climate in the river basin.
It has also claimed that the dam was being constructed
within the backwaters of Pochampad Dam and in violation of the
Godavari Water Dispute Agreement of 1975.
The Babhli Project was cleared in 1995, but the
construction began only in 2004.