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Polavaram: SC asks Centre, six states to file affidavits on 1980 tribunal award

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The today asked the Centre and six states, including Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, to file "specific affidavits" stating they were bound by the 1980 award of Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal, which had adjudicated the river water utilisation disputes among the basin states of Godavari and Krishna.

Besides the Centre, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, the apex court asked Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and to file affidavits in this regard within four weeks.

A bench comprising Justices and said this while hearing a matter related to the Indira Sagar on in

The on Godavari in is a multi-purpose irrigation project which has been accorded the status of a national project.

During the hearing, appearing for Odisha, and other states told the bench that they were bound by the terms of award of 1980. The Centre had in 1980 accepted the verdict of and made it binding on the concerned river basin states.

According to the tribunal's verdict, the agreements arrived between the riparian states at the sub-basin level were vetted by the states of the entire Godavari basin and no state could back out of the total tribunal award.

Odisha's told the apex court that they were not pressing their plea seeking blanket injunction for from proceeding with construction of the Polavaram project, but that it should be done in accordance with the 1980 tribunal award and other laws.

"The secretaries of Odisha and defendant states Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana and and of the Union of should file specific affidavits in this regard within four weeks stating that their respective governments are bound by the award," the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on April 17.

When the Centre's told the court that ministers of these states should meet and discuss the issue, the bench said, "that is for you to decide. If you want to have meeting, you can have it".

The bench clarified that the pendency of the matter in the apex court does not preclude the ministers of these states to meet and discuss the issue.

Odisha's raised the issue of submergence of a number of villages in their state due to the construction of

The project is under construction in West and East Godavari Districts of and its reservoir spreads to parts of and Odisha.

The apex court had earlier sought the Centre's response on a separate plea alleging violation of rights of Scheduled Tribes and forest dwellers due to the

The petition has claimed that the project will submerge about 600 habitations in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Telangana and also about 8,000 acres of forest and 500 acres of the wild life sanctuary.

The environment clearance of the project was cancelled by the in 2007 but the High Court had stayed it as an interim measure.

The had given a direction to stop the construction work of the project on February 8, 2011, but had later kept its own order in abeyance.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, February 15 2018. 19:50 IST