Krishna River Water Dispute: A Supreme Court bench headed by CJI, NV Ramana suggested mediation between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states over the Krishna water-sharing dispute, also added that it did not wish to interfere unnecessarily.
The Chief Justice of India, who hails from AP (prior to its bifurcation) said, “I do not want to hear this matter legally., I belong to both states. If this matter can be settled through meditation, please do that. We can help with that. Otherwise, I will transfer this case to another bench.”
Following the SC’s notification, senior advocate Dushyant Dave appearing on behalf of the AP government requested time for instruction. CS Vaidhyanathan, appearing for Telangana, agreed to have the matter reserved for consideration.
What is the Dispute About?
Andhra Pradesh has alleged that without the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB)approvals, Telangana has been using Krishna river water for four hydropower generation projects – Srisailam, Nagarjun Sagar, Jurala, and Pulichintala.
When the state was bifurcated, the autonomous body KRMB was set up to manage and allocate Krishna waters. Andhra Pradesh is alleging that the Telanga is wasting the waters used in hydropower generation by releasing into the Bay of Bengal. This is causing distress to the farmers in the Krishna delta ayacut.
However, Telangana has maintained that it will continue with its hydropower generation projects to fulfil the energy requirements of the state. It has also objected to AP’s irrigation projects, most notably the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Project.
How are the water’s currently divided?
During the time of bifurcation, both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states agreed to a temporary split of 66:34 until the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal – 2 determined the permanent allocation. As per this, in the water flowing through the two states 811 TMC ft, 512 TMC ft is allocated to Andhra Pradesh and 299 TMC ft is allocated to Telangana.
Can a resolution be found?
To permanently resolve the Krishna River Water Dispute, Telangana has called for the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-2. It is also called for KRMB to convene a meeting.
However, some political observers have argued that the two may have the motive to keep tensions simmering, with the former seeking to turn it into a political vehicle for the 2024 assembly elections. Prior to the upcoming Huzurabad by-election, they want to turn this dispute into a hot-button issue.