Andhra to file review petition in Supreme Court on Babli barrage
At an all-party meeting convened by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy in Hyderabad on May 20, it was decided that the government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court, seeking clarifications in the court’s verdict on the controversial Babli barrage. It was also decided that the state would request the Central government for a joint meeting with Maharashtra after securing a favourable direction from the court on review of its order.
The controversial barrage, a project by the government of Maharashtra, is located in Nanded district, just 30 km from the border of Andhra Pradesh. The barrage on the river Godavari is expected to help Maharashtra irrigate 8,000 hectares in the district, and provide drinking water to about 60 villages and towns. The project had received clearance from the Central government in 1995, and the Maharashtra government started construction in 2004.
Who gets water
The court verdict in question came on February 28 this year, putting an end to the seven-year-long legal battle between Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra over the project. The court’s judgement was in favour of Maharashtra and it rejected Andhra Pradesh’s plea to demolish the barrage.
Andhra Pradesh had argued in the court that if the Babli barrage was built upstream very close to the Sriram Sagar Project (SRSP) in Andhra’s Nizamabad district, it would affect water flow to SRSP and six northern districts—Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda, Khammam and Medak—would be deprived of water for irrigation and drinking purposes. The state had argued that the barrage would affect about 730,000 ha in SRSP area. The state had requested the court to direct Maharashtra to demolish the construction.
Those who attended the all-party meeting were of the opinion that the supervisory committee, as suggested by the Supreme Court, should be empowered with adequate executive powers to implement the court’s directives.
While political parties and farmers’ associations in Andhra Pradesh oppose the construction of the barrage, their counterparts in the neighbouring state strongly support the project. In both states, the project is a political issue. Maharashtra has reportedly stepped up the security at the barrage site deploying more police forces.