The Union cabinet on Wednesday approved new terms of references for the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II, which adjudicates over the dispute between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over sharing of river Krishna’s waters.
The two states have been in a dispute over their shares, especially after the creation of Telangana as a separate state out of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Under section 5(1) of the Inter State Water Dispute Act 1956, the Centre has called for the adjudication between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on the basis of new terms of reference.
The proposal was approved after the Centre had sought legal opinion on the matter, following complaints raised by the Telangana government invoking provisions of the Act.
Information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur told mediapersons after the cabinet meeting that Telangana had demanded that the matter should be looked into by the tribunal and decided to withdraw a plea before the Supreme Court.
An earlier demand by the Telangana government to review its water share had been rejected by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II, following which it had moved the Supreme Court. The state then made a fresh complaint to the Centre, Thakur said.
The tribunal was set up by the Centre in April 2004. In 2014, after Telangana came into existence, the tenure of the tribunal was extended in accordance with provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.
Telangana had first complained to the Jal Shakti ministry over water-sharing in 2014. It had also filed a plea in the Supreme Court the following year in 2015. In 2018 for the second time, the Telangana government had complained to the Centre on the matter, urging it to refer the complaint to the tribunal by confining the scope of reference between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh only.
In another decision, the cabinet also approved a proposal of the Jal Shakti ministry to complete the balance works of North Koel reservoir project at a revised cost of Rs 2,430.76 crore (with the central share of Rs 1,836.41 crore) as against the balance cost of Rs 1,622.27 crore (with the central share of Rs 1,378.60 crore) approved earlier in August, 2017.
On completion of the balance works, the project would provide additional annual irrigation to 42,301 hectare in the four drought prone districts of Jharkhand and Bihar.