Krishna Tribunal can only deal with surplus water issue: K'taka

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New Delhi, Nov 3 (UNI) Karnataka today contended before the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) that the allocation of 2060 tmcft of water in the basin was already a 'settled issue' and the KWDT could only deal with surplus water issue where there was the absence of a consensus among riparian states.

Presenting the final arguments before the three member KWDT comprising Justices Brajesh Kumar, S P Srivastava and D K Sait, Karnataka's senior counsel Fali S Nariman said the previous Tribunal headed by Justice Bachawat had already apportioned the enbloc allocation of 560 TMC, 700 TMC and 800 TMC to Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh respectively at 75 per cent dependability.

Anything beyond this prescribed figure can be a subject matter for settlement by the KWDT, he said.

The order, he said, had been honoured by the basin states for three decades and the 'Scheme B' of the report, although subsumed in the report, was not notified by the Centre following lack of consent and legal framework. This was the reason why the Centre did not constitute a regulatory body like the Krishna Valley Authority as prescribed by the previous Tribunal.

The question now demands an answer as if there was any particular reason to reject 'Scheme B' which had been hailed as an implementable blue print both by the Supreme Court as well as the Government. The amendment to Section 6 (a) of Inter-State Water Disputes Act provided the government to constitute an authority to implement the order of Tribunal's report.

As far as 'Scheme B' was concerned, the government was of the opinion that it was better for implementation with readymade scheme available based on the details at this time (during early 1970s). However, the scheme had fallen between two stools because it was not part of the report or order of the first KWDT and the amendment to the ISWDA granting the adjudicating tribunals the status of Supreme Court.

The previous Tribunal had also taken into account that the irrigation potential in the upper riparian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka had not been totally developed and the utilisation in the entire basin was not beyond 1000 TMC. It allowed utilisaton of surplus water by Andhra Pradesh without aquiring any rights over the waters thus utilised.

Mr Nariman said there has to be yardsticks and principles for 'equitable distribution' of surplus and sharing of distress water like rainfall, population rather than the cropping pattern. It may be better if the allocation is on percentage basis rather than in TMCs so that it can incorporate the surplus as well distresses. All states and people need water and this makes the task of water allocation a difficult task, he said.

The senior lawyer is scheduled to present his arguments for the next four days followed by the counsels of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

UNI MCN ATI AS1832

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