Hyderabad: In a major boost to Andhra Pradesh, the Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal on Wednesday allowed the construction of the Neradi barrage across the river on the AP-Odisha border. Odisha had been objecting to the project for 55 years.
The tribunal in its final order cleared the sharing of 115 tmc ft yield at Gotta barrage in Hiramandalam mandal of Srikakulam district between AP and Odisha 50:50, as per the agreement reached between the states in September 30, 1962.
To utilise its share of water, AP has proposed constructing a barrage near Neradi and agreed to provide cost of the protection walls and related structures to the Odisha government.
Odisha did not agree, and lodged a complaint with the Centre, which set up the tribunal.
It may be mentioned here that soon after coming to power, then Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao met his Odisha counterpart Biju Patnaik in presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to allow acquisition of 106 acre in Odisha to build the barrage.
Rama Rao told the Assembly that Rajiv Gandhi had told him, “it will be done”.
After the Odisha government objected to sharing the Vamsadhara waters and allowing construction of the Neradi barrage, the two states held several rounds of bilateral talks.
Wednesday’s order of the Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal will be operationalised on the date of publication of the verdict in the Official Gazette under Section 6 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act of 1956.
Water from the barrage is estimated to irrigate one lakh acres and the project will benefit several mandals in Srikakulam district. It will also stabilise the Vamsadhara Stage 1 and 2 command area under the Gotta barrage.