Andhra to seek legal opinion on Babli project

Hyderabad, March 28 (IANS) The Andhra Pradesh government will seek legal opinion on filing a review petition in the Supreme Court on the Babli project neighbouring Maharashtra is building across the Godavari river.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Thursday assured an all-party meeting that the state is ready to fight a legal battle to protect its interests. He said, if necessary, he would take an all-party delegation to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Irrigation Minister P. Sudershan Reddy told reporters after the meeting that the state would seek legal opinion on the issue. “We will call another all-party meeting to discuss and decide whether to wage a legal battle or take a delegation to Delhi,” he said.
The minister said the government would take into consideration views expressed by leaders of all parties before arriving at a final decision. Leaders of main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and others urged the state government to take all measures to protect the farmers under Sriram Sagar Project (SRSP).
TDP leader Kadiam Srihari said the state government’s failure to present its case effectively in the Supreme Court led to this verdict.
The Supreme Court Feb 28 allowed Maharashtra to go ahead with the project, rejecting Andhra Pradesh’s plea to demolish the barrage. This verdict put an end to the seven-year-long legal battle between the two states.
The controversial barrage, coming up in Nanded district, just 30 km from Andhra Pradesh’s border, is expected to help Maharashtra irrigate 8,000 hectares in the district, and provide drinking water to about 60 villages and towns.
The apex court also ordered the constitution of a three-member committee to supervise the construction of Babli. The committee will have one representative from the Central Water Commission (CWC) and one representative each from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. The CWC representative will be chairperson of the committee.
The Godavari flows from Nanded into the SRSP in Andhra Pradesh’s Nizamabad district. Andhra Pradesh moved the Supreme Court in 2006, contending that if a dam was built upstream very close to this project, it would affect the water flow to the SRSP and six northern Telangana districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda, Khammam and Medak.
Kiran Kumar Reddy had earlier stated that the utilisation of 2.74 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of Godavari waters by Maharashtra through Babli as cleared by the court was within the 60 tmcft to which the state was entitled under an 1975 agreement.