Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2013, currently under the consideration of the state legislature, envisages a vital role for the Centre in the management of water resources between the successor states of Telangana and (new) Andhra Pradesh.
Sharing and management of water resources between the two states, post-bifurcation, is likely to be a tricky issue given the complex nature of irrigation projects and water allocation in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
The President has given time till January 23 to the AP legislature to return the draft bill after due deliberations. The draft bill says the Centre would constitute an Apex Council for the supervision of the functioning of two management boards of Godavari and Krishna rivers.
The council shall comprise the Union Water Resources Minister as its Chairperson and the Chief Ministers of the two states as members. The functions of the council shall include planning and approval of proposals for construction of new projects, if any, based on Godavari or Krishna river water and also resolution of any dispute amicably arising out of the sharing of river waters.
The functions shall also include reference of any disputes not covered under Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, to a Tribunal to be constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
The Centre shall constitute two separate boards to be called the Godavari River Management Board and Krishna River Management Board for the "administration, regulation, maintenance and operation of such projects, as may be notified by the Central Government from time to time."
As stated in the bill, the headquarters of the Godavari River Management Board shall be located in Telangana state and Krishna River Management Board shall be located in Andhra Pradesh. The two boards shall be "autonomous bodies under the administrative control of the Central Government, and shall comply with such directions as may, from time to time, be given to them by the Central Government.
Each board shall consist of a Chairperson not below the rank or level of Secretary or Additional Secretary to the Government of India, to be appointed by the Union Government and two members to be nominated by each of the successor states and an expert to be nominated by the Centre.
Each board shall have a full-time Member Secretary, not below the rank of Chief Engineer in the Central Water Commission, to be appointed by the Central Government. Each board shall be assisted in the day-to-day management of reservoirs by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
The functions of boards shall include the regulation of supply of water from the projects to the successor states having regard to the awards granted by the Tribunals constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes At, 1956 and any agreement entered into or arrangement made covering the government of existing Andhra Pradesh and any other state or Union Territory.
The functions shall also include the regulation of supply of power generated to the authority in charge of the distribution of power having regard to any agreement entered into by the existing Andhra Pradesh government and any other state or Union Territory.
The construction of such of the remaining on-going or new works connected to the development of the water resources projects relating to the rivers or their tributaries through the successor states as the Centre may specify is another function of each board.
The functions of each board shall also include making an appraisal of any proposal for construction of new projects on Godavari or Krishna rivers and giving technical clearance. The draft bill envisages that the government of the successor states shall at all times provide necessary funds to the board to meet all expenses required for the discharge of its functions.
The central government may, for the purpose of enabling the board to function efficiently, issue such directions to the state governments concerned or any other authority, which will have to comply with the directions.
The board shall ordinarily exercise jurisdiction on Godavari and Krishna rivers regarding any of the projects over headworks, part of canal network and transmission lines necessary to deliver water or power to the states concerned, as may be notified by the central government, having regard to the awards, if any, made by the Tribunals constituted under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
If a question arises as to whether the board has jurisdiction over any project, the same shall be referred to the Centre for its decision. The board may make regulations consistent with the Act and the rules made to provide for regulating the time and place of meetings of the Board and delegation of powers and duties of the Chairman among others.
The Centre has declared the Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project as a national project in public interest and the Centre shall execute the project in consultation with the governments of the two successor states following all relevant norms.