Apex court to go ahead with Godavari dispute hearing

March 26th, 2008 - 8:34 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed Maharashtra’s objection to its hearing of a lawsuit by Andhra Pradesh, challenging the construction of the Babhli barrage on the Godavari river. A bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan dismissed Maharashtra’s objection and agreed with the argument by counsel for Andhra Pradesh that the construction of the barrage by Maharashtra in its territory on the Godavari basin is not a mere river water dispute, but a dispute between two states.

The bench, which also included Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal, agreed with Andhra Pradesh counsel K. Parasaran’s contention that the dispute necessarily warrants the intervention of the apex court.

Maharashtra government’s T.R. Andhyarujina had told the bench Tuesday that the apex court was not the right forum to adjudicate on Andhra Pradesh’s objection as it was a river water dispute and should be dealt with by a tribunal.

The bench fixed Aug 5 as the next date of hearing for elaborate examination of the issue.

Andhra Pradesh has moved the apex court objecting to the ongoing construction of the Babhli barrage by Maharashtra. Andhra Pradesh fears the barrage would reduce water flow to the state.

Andhra Pradesh objects to the construction of the barrage as it intrudes into the water storage area of the Pochampad dam, also known as Shri Ram Sagar Project, built by it.

The Godavari originates from the Sahyadri mountain ranges in Maharashtra and after meandering its way through the state enters Andhra Pradesh.

According to Andhra Pradesh, the Babhli barrage intrudes into the water storage area of Pochampad dam, built by Andhra Pradesh as per a 1975 agreement between the two states.

Seventy-one km of the 126 km-long water storage area of the Shri Ram Sagar Project is in Andhra Pradesh, while the rest is in Maharashtra. It is owing to this that the Babhli barrage intrudes into the water storage area of Shri Ram Sagar Project.

In its petition, Andhra Pradesh has contended that if Maharashtra is allowed to complete the barrage, a part of the water stored in the Shri Ram Sagar Project would flow back into the Babhli barrage.

Allaying Andhra Pradesh’s fears that the barrage would impede water flow to it, the Maharashtra counsel Tuesday told the court that the barrage would have a storage capacity of only 0.60 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water, in lieu of which the state was willing to release additional water to Andhra Pradesh.

Andhyarujina said the construction of the barrage was not in violation of either the 1975 agreement on sharing of the Godavari river water between the two states or the ruling of the Godavari Water Tribunal on the issue.

But Parasaran contended that barrage violated both as it was a fresh construction and was not covered either in the mutual agreement or the ruling by the Godavari Water Tribunal.

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