NEW DELHI: At a time when rains have cooled tempers by putting Krishna river in spate, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana Monday suggested to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to resolve the dispute over apportioning of its water through mediation and not spend time and energy over litigation.
Heading a bench also comprising Justice Surya Kant, the CJI told AP counsel Dushyant Dave that both states willing, he would supervise the mediation process for equitable sharing of Krishna water among them. “But, if you want adjudication of legal issues raised by Andhra Pradesh in its writ petition, I will recuse and post the petition before another bench,” he said. “I belong to both the states. I can arrange for mediation and supervise it for a possible resolution of the Krishna water-sharing dispute,” the CJI said.
Dave termed the CJI’s suggestion worth considering and said he would take instructions from the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government and get back.
Appearing for Telangana, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan said there is plenty of water and both states are enjoying a surplus at the present. “The problem is not felt during the rainy season. The problem arises when there is scarcity of water,” the CJI said and posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday.
In its writ petition, Andhra Pradesh accused Telangana of depriving its people of their legitimate share of Krishna water for drinking and irrigation. It alleged that Telangana was deliberately not following decisions taken on river water management in the Apex Council constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014, as also the directions of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) constituted under the 2014 Act and the directions of the central government.
AP had also blamed the Centre for not notifying the exact jurisdiction of the KRMB. “This is resulting in illegal acts on the part of Telangana and its authorities, creating serious constitutional issues,” it said. However, a day after AP moved the SC, the Centre on July 16 notified the Godavari and the Krishna river management boards, giving them more teeth to administer, regulate, operate and maintain projects listed on these two rivers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as per the mandate of the AP Reorganisation Act.
Jagan Reddy government’s petition stated: “Fundamental rights, including right to life of its citizens, are being seriously impaired and infringed on account of unconstitutional, illegal and unjust acts on part of Telangana and its officials, resulting in the citizens of Andhra Pradesh being deprived of their legitimate share of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.”
The bone of contention is the Telangana government’s June 28 order, which stated that “to tap more hydel generation in the state, the government has taken a decision to generate hydel power up to 100% installed capacity.” The order directed the Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Ltd (TSGENCO) to “generate hydel power up to 100% installed capacity in the state”.
AP alleged that Telangana had issued the notification days after the Union ministry of Jal Shakti on June 17 communicated to the director (hydel) of TSGENCO, requesting the latter “to stop further release of water immediately through Srisailam Left Power House and follow the water release orders issued by the KRMB, except in case of extreme grid urgency.”