New Delhi, Feb 28: The Supreme court Thursday set up a three-member committee to supervise the operation of the Babhali barrage on the Godavari river in Maharashtra and release water to Andhra Pradesh.
The apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Anil R. Dave said Maharashtra will maintain Nanded district’s Babhali barrage storage capacity at 2.74 TMC of water out of the 60 TMC given to it under its Oct 6, 1975, agreement with Andhra Pradesh.
Besides a representative of the Central Water Commission who would be its chairman, the committee will have a representative each from the two states.
The committee would ensure that “Maharashtra maintains Babhali barrage storage capacity of 2.74 TMC of water out of the allocation of 60 TMC given to Maharashtra for new projects under the Oct 6, 1975, agreement”.
The court said that the committee will also ensure that “the gates of Babhali barrage remain lifted during the monsoon season, i.e, July 1 to Oct 28 and there is no obstruction to the natural flow of Godavari river during monsoon season below the three dams mentioned in Clause II(i) of the agreement towards Pochampad dam.”
The court asked the committee to see that Maharashtra did not periodically utilise 2.74 TMC from time to time and ensure that it (Maharashtra) releases 0.6 TMC of water to Andhra Pradesh March 1 every year.
The court said this while disposing of a suit by the Andhra Pradesh and also a contempt petition wherein Andhra had contended that Maharashtra had constructed the Babhali barrage within the reservoir bridge of Andhra’s Pochampad dam (on the inter-state border of two states) contrary to the tribunal award and without any right and entitlement.
The violations alleged by Andhra Pradesh against Maharashtra are in respect of construction of Babhali barrage in their reservoir of Pochampad project.
Addressing the contention of Andhra Pradesh, the court said, “We assume that apprehensions of Andhra Pradesh are bona fide and genuine. However, in our view, these apprehensions can be largely overcome and addressed. It is pertinent to notice that though with regard to present subject matter, Andhra Pradesh has taken a very rigid and hard stance…”