The Telangana Government has moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to Andhra Pradesh Government to stop the process of tenders for Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Project (RLIP), one of the two components to divert about 8 tmc ft Krishna waters a day from Srisailam reservoir planned by A.P., in violation of the riparian rights of Telangana.
Officials of the Irrigation Department stated that a Special Leave Petition (SLP) was filed through the e-filing system on the issue by a team of counsel on behalf of Telangana Government. They said it expected to be listed and come up for hearing in a couple of days.
The SLP has been filed as decided at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on July 30 to discuss the situation arising out of A.P.’s water diversion plans and Krishna River Management Board’s (KRMB) directions to A.P. to stop the process of tenders of RLIP. It was decided at the meeting that the government would continue its “relentless fight, including legal recourse, to stop the project (RLIP) under any circumstances”.
The Telangana Government has brought to the Supreme Court’s notice that the Andhra Pradeh Government had set in motion, its Krishna water diversion plans without seeking any approval from the KRMB and the Apex Council, as provisioned for in the A.P. Reorganisation Act in the matter of utilising river waters by A.P. and Telangana, or getting the nod for Central Water Commission to begin with. The A.P. Government had issued a GO (203) on May 5, 2020 specifying its plans to take up RLIP and to expand Pothireddypadu to increase its water drawal capacity to 80,000 cusecs.
Further, Telangana has pointed out that the two plans of A.P. would enable it draw over 8 tmc ft of Krishna water every day. “As it is the Pothireddypaddu head regulator system has the capacity to draw over 5 tmc ft of water every day and it is proved during the flood season last year. Practically, the water drawal capacity of Pothireddypadu is nearly 60,000 cusecs although it is 44,000 cusecs officially”, a senior Irrigation Department official of Telangana told The Hindu.
The water drawal capacity of Pothireddypadu was increased to 44,000 cusecs in 2007 from the previous 14,000 cusecs undermining the riparian rights of Telangana during combined A.P. itself.
Andhra Pradesh’s plans were in gross violation of the existing tribunal award, as per which it has already utilised its entire quota of allocation by tying it up with various irrigation systems, Telangana said in its petition. It has requested the Supreme Court to stop the tenders process for RLIP as also implementation of GO 203 as they amounted to violation of the provisions of A.P. Reorganisation Act, besides the existing tribunal award and the riparian rights of Telangana.