New Delhi, Dec 18:
Rejecting the contention of the Odisha government, the Centre has allowed the Andhra Pradesh government to go ahead with the construction of a barrage over Bansadhara river at Kataragada.
In an interim order here on Tuesday, a three-member bench of the Central Tribunal chaired by Justice Mukundakam Sharma gave permission to the AP government in this regard.
The Tribunal, however, asked the AP government to seek permission from the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the ministries of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Tribal Affairs before starting construction of the proposed barrage.
Besides, it also asked the AP government to form a three-member committee to oversee the construction work of the barrage and water discharge from the barrage.
The Tribunal, in its order, made it clear that the barrage sluice gates would remain closed from December 1 to May 1 every year to ensure equal sharing of river water between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
The three-member committee will have a member of the CWC and two members from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The committee will have its office in Andhra Pradesh while the AP government would bear its maintenance cost.
It may be mentioned that the Odisha government had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court in 2009 protesting the construction of the barrage alleging that most parts of its southern districts would be deprived of water if it is constructed.
The apex court, after reviewing the petition, had asked the AP government to stop the construction of the barrage. Later, a Central Tribunal, formed to resolve the dispute between the two states, had stayed the order of the apex court.
However, the AP government later had made an appeal to the Tribunal to lift the stay order.
The Tribunal, after hearing the petition, allowed the AP government to go ahead with the construction of the barrage while observing that the contention of the Odisha government was not ‘satisfactory’.