A key development has taken place in AP, Telangana Water row. The Centre took a sensational decision in the wake of the disputes between the two states. It was clarified that all the projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers would be under the control of the respective boards, which will take care of all project management from now, and states should not interfere.
The Centre has issued two notifications — one for the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) and another for the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) — for administration, regulation, maintenance, and operation of projects in the Godavari and the Krishna River basins in these two States.
While Telangana has strongly opposed the board, however, Andhra Pradesh has always demanded that the projects be brought under the control of the board. The Nagarjuna Sagar project has been under the control of the state authorities as it is under the jurisdiction of Telangana. The board has been saying that control is needed as their ownership of the right canal that supplies water to the AP continues. Despite these contradictions, Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat made it clear at the second Apex Council meeting that he had the power to finalize the scope of the boards.
Seven years after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and two days after the AP government knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to take over the control of common reservoirs on River Krishna, the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) issued gazette notification defining the jurisdiction of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) late on July 15 night on the scope and management guidelines of the boards.
The notification will come into effect from October 14.
From then, the KRMB and GRMB will have control over the operations and maintenance of the common reservoirs in both Krishna and Godavari basins, a demand which the Andhra Pradesh government has been making ever since the State bifurcation. As per the notification, the projects have been divided into three schedules. Any unauthorised project will be subject to appraisal and approval of the KRMB and in accordance with the Apex Council. It will issue directions to AP and TS and they should be strictly followed.
Within 60 days of issuance of notification, both the States must provide onetime Seed money of Rs 200 crore each to the KRMB. If any question arises over the jurisdiction of KRMB on any project, the decision of the Centre is final. Within six months of notification, both the States will have to get all the unauthorised projects appraised and approved.
According to the Notification, 36 projects on the Krishna River will come under the purview of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and 71 projects on the Godavari will come under the purview of the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB). CISF also looks after the security of the projects.
This means it would now not be possible to utilise water from different projects within the Telangana state for hydel power generation as was done this year. The gazette also notified the list of unapproved projects.
In simple terms this means that these two states will have no right on water management and will have to look towards the boards for their water needs.
If the State governments fail to do so, the projects will cease to operate. From the date of commencement of notification, both the States must completely hand over the projects specified in schedules 1 and II to the KRMB. The Krishna Board will have complete control over the Srisailam project and its components, Telugu Ganga and Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi as they are specified under Schedule I and II. As per the notification, Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme, Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme, Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala will also come under the complete KRMB jurisdiction.
According to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, in 2014, Krishna and Godavari River Management boards were formed. The scope of these has to be notified by the centre. The AP and Telangana governments have held several rounds of talks with the centre on the issue. The respective boards sent the drafts. However, Telangana asked to notify the boards only after the Brijesh Kumar tribunal’s verdict while Andhra Pradesh has appealed to consider the use of 811 TMCs as per the Bachawat Tribunal. This was discussed for the last time in October last year in the Apex Council, chaired by the union Jal Shakti minister and chaired by two CMs. After hearing the views of the two CMs, the centre said that they would decide on the scope of the boards themselves and accordingly issued the Notification.
The Centre has clarified that along with the Chairman of the Board, the Member Secretary, and the Chief Engineer should also be from other states. Projects Headworks, Barrages, Reservoirs, Regulating Structures, Canal Networks, Transmission Lines are also covered by the Krishna Board. It said that the Krishna River Management Board has the power to direct state governments on the management of projects. Both AP and Telangana will be responsible for the management of projects in the event of natural disasters.