Partial justice, says H K Patil

Partial justice, says H K Patil

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Patil said the Tribunal’s decision to allow Karnataka to increase the height of the Almatti Dam from the present 519.6 metre to 524.26 metre, would help the State utilise the 911-tmcft of water allocated to it.

But at the same time, the Tribunal had “approved” illegal irrigation projects taken up by Andhra Pradesh by allotting 190 tmc ft of the surplus water, which was more than what the Bachawat Commission had recommended.

“When the Tribunal was set up, Karnataka thought that it would get complete justice. But the Tribunal has done only partial justice to the State,” he said.

Patil recalled that the Bachawat Commission in its verdict in 1973 had allotted 734 tmc ft of water to Karnataka, 811 tmcft to Andhra Pradesh and 585 tmcft to Maharashtra under the Scheme A. The Commission had clearly mentioned in its report that Karnataka should be allotted 50 per cent of the surplus water under the Scheme B and the remaining 50 per cent must be shared equally between Maharashtra and Andhra.

But, the Tribunal had allotted only 39.5 per cent (177 tmcft) surplus water to Karnataka. Whereas AP got 42 per cent, which was 17.4 per cent more. In total, Karnataka had lost 100 tmc ft of water, depriving 10 lakh acres of land of irrigation facility. This, he said,  was a big injustice to the State.

Of the total drainage area of Krishna valley, 43.8 per cent was in Karnataka, AP had 29.41 per cent and Maharashtra had 26.8 per cent. Therefore, Karnataka had every right to get more share in the surplus water.

He said there was still time for Karnataka to get its share in the surplus water under Scheme B. The state government must consult irrigation experts, farmers and all political parties to discuss ways and means of defending the State’s case. The injustice done in the Thursday’s Tribunal verdict could be corrected in the judgement clarification period.