A day after Andhra Pradesh moved the Supreme Court seeking fixation of jurisdiction of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB), the Centre has taken control of the irrigation projects not only on the Krishna but also on the Godavari river. The state government filed a petition in the apex court on July 14 and the Central government late on July 15 night issued a notification fixing jurisdiction of the KRMB and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB). The two boards were formed under the AP State Reorganisation Act 2014 for overseeing water sharing between AP and Telangana. But in the last seven years, the Centre had not notified the jurisdiction of either KRMB or GRMB.
According to the notification, the two river water boards will have complete control over the operations and maintenance of the common reservoirs in both Krishna and Godavari basins. Subsequently, 36 projects in Krishna basin and 71 projects in Godavari basin will come under the control of KRMB and GRMB respectively from October 14.
Speaking to the media on Friday, joint secretary of the Ministry, Sanjay Avasthi, said the AP State Re-Organisation Act 2014 had categorically mentioned the share of waters between AP and Telangana and accordingly an Apex Council was formed under Section 84 of the Act. The first meeting of the Apex Council was held in September 2016, but no conclusive outcome was possible.
Again, the Council met on October 6 of 2020. The Centre, which was keen to resolve the disputes amicably and render justice to both the States, had fixed the purview of the two Boards after considering all aspects, he said. Even before issuing the new Gazette Notification, considerable exercise had gone into the issue and long discussions had been held with the Central Water Commission (CWS).
As many as 36 projects in Krishna basin and 71 projects in Godavari basin are proposed to be kept under the control of KRMB & GRMB respectively. It means both the river basins will be under the direct control of Central government. It will be operational from 14 October 2021. The states have to stop the works of unapproved projects immediately and obtain approvals within 6 months of this notification. All the sanctioned posts in the projects shall come under the jurisdiction of the Boards.
Plants, machinery, equipment and stores of the projects shall come under the jurisdiction of Boards. Office premises, equipment, furniture, vehicles, records, documents of the projects shall come under the jurisdiction of Boards. Within 60 days both AP and Telangana shall deposit Rs 200 crore to the Boards. Matters relating to power generation, transmission, and distribution shall be implemented by the states as per the directions of the Boards. All major and medium projects are notified leaving only minor irrigation to the states