New Delhi: The central government Thursday night notified the exact jurisdiction of the Godavari and Krishna river management boards, providing them authority and power over the regulation, operation and maintenance of all projects — including dams, reservoirs and hydro power plants — in the two river basins in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The notification came seven years after the boards were set up as part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, which provided for the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra state to carve out Telangana.
The notification will come into effect from 14 October and is expected to ensure judicious utilisation of water resources in the two states, said Sanjay Awasthi, Joint Secretary in the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, at a press conference Friday.
The central government’s move comes just two days after the Andhra Pradesh government filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking its “due share” of water from the Krishna river.
Sharing of Krishna water — as well as that of Godavari — has been a major bone of contention between the two states.
While the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) and the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) were constituted in 2014, they failed to prevent friction between the two states because their jurisdiction had not been demarcated.
With their jurisdiction now outlined, they will oversee the regulation, operation and maintenance of all 35 projects (including dams, reservoirs and hydel plants) in the Krishna basin, and 71 in the Godavari basin.
Asked about the delay in notifying the jurisdictions, Awasthi said, “We took time to build consensus.”
Awasthi said the central government’s decision will go a long way in enabling the boards to discharge their responsibilities to the fullest and bring about efficiency in management of water resources in the two states.
AP-Telangana water battle
Andhra and Telangana have been sparring over their share of water from the two rivers ever since their formation.
The latest point of conflict has been the Srisailam reservoir, which is the main storage for river water between the two states.
Last week, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Reddy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, protesting against Telangana’s use of the Srisailam reservoir water from 1 June for power generation.
The Andhra Pradesh government alleged that Telangana is drawing water from four projects — Jurala, Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar, and Pulichintala — for hydropower generation without the approval of the KRMB.
While the Andhra government has been batting for the notification of the boards’ jurisdiction, the Telangana administration was not. The latter had told the central government that it should first decide the state’s share in Krishna water.
What does the notification say?
The notification divides all the listed projects on the two river basins into three schedules.
For the KRMB, the schedules state that the board will have jurisdiction over all the existing and ongoing projects in the Krishna river basin in the two states.
Any unapproved projects, it states, will be cleared only after appraisal and approval by the KRMB and the apex council, which was constituted by the central government in 2014 to supervise the functioning of the two boards.
The council has the Union jal shakti minister and the chief ministers of the two states as members.
Both the states will also have to make a one-time seed deposit to the tune of Rs 200 crore each within 60 days into the bank account of the KRMB for it to effectively discharge its functions from the date of publication of the notification.
The GRMB will exercise jurisdiction on the Godavari river, which will include regulating the supply of water and power generated from the projects in the Godavari river basin in both states, the notification said.
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)