The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) today refused to look into allocation of the river water to four basin states afresh, a decision termed as "disappointing" by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The tribunal headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, however, said it will take up the issue of distribution of water allocated to erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh between the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
For this, the KWDT asked the two states to approach it again with their claims on the river water out of the total 1,001 TMC allocated to undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2010 by the tribunal itself before December 14, when the matter will be heard next.
The tribunal passed the judgement after the two states approached it arguing that Section 89 of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 meant that the Krishna water will be redistributed among the four basin states. Maharashtra and Karnataka are the other two riparian states.
However, the KWDT did not buy the argument and said the section concerned was not applicable to Maharashtra and Karnataka, but only the two sibling states.
"...The scope of the inquiry into the terms of reference under Section 89 of the Act no 6 of 2014 is confined to only two successor states, namely, states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and not all the four states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana," it observed.
On their part, Maharashtra and Karnataka objected to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh's arguments seeking redistribution of the water.
The Maharashtra government maintained that Part-IX of the Act provides for management and development of water resources in the "successor states".
"Thus, the jurisdiction of this tribunal under section 89 of the Act No 6 of 2014 is limited to apportionment of project-wise specific allocation between the successor states.
"The allocation already made by the tribunal to the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka cannot be changed under Section 89 of the Reorganisation Act. It is also pleaded that except the successor states, no other state is required to be made party," it said.
The Centre expressed similar views and said it was implicit in the reference under the section concerned that the tribunal determines the shares of the successor states of Telangana and the residual state of Andhra Pradesh as a result of reorganisation of the erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh "without disturbing project-wise allocations made to other party states".
In 2010, the tribunal had allotted 666 TMC to Maharashtra and 911 TMC water to Karnataka.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Telangana
government's advisor on irrigation, R Vidyasagar Rao, said the judgement was "disappointing" and the state will decide on further course of action after consulting Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
A representative of Andhra Pradesh echoed the view and said the state had hoped that the tribunal will look into the allocation again.
"We are not getting due share from the upper riparian states (Maharashtra and Karnataka). That's why, we had urged the tribunal to look into the allocation again," he said.
A representative of the Karnataka government though expressed satisfaction with the decision.
The Maharashtra government in a statement said the order meant that the 666 TMC water allocated to it by the KWDT "remains unaffected".
"Maharashtra and Karnataka argued before the tribunal that since Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act doesn't apply to them, their allocations should continue as directed. The tribunal considered the arguments and made it clear that the allocations to Maharashtra and Karnataka would continue," it said.