Yet another river water sharing dispute erupts between TN, AP

Update: 2024-02-27 17:54 GMT
Budgetary allocation between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh for the construction of a check dam across River Palar in the State’s Kuppam Assembly constituency. (Image source: Youtube)

Chennai: A new river water sharing dispute between Tamil Nadu and a neighbouring state has reared its head now with the Andhra Pradesh government making a budgetary allocation for the construction of a check dam across River Palar in the State’s Kuppam Assembly constituency and State Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan pointing out that the dam construction would amount to contempt of court.

Though the controversy erupted a few days after it was reported that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy would be laying the foundation for the check dam and the PMK raising the issue by wondering if Tamil Nadu had given up its rights and farmers in the Palar river basin objecting to the move, the State government’s stand was made known on Tuesday through Duraimurugan’s statement.

The Minister made it clear that Palar was an inter-state river and an upstream state should not obstruct, divert, or store its water without the permission of the downstream state, according to the 1892 agreement between the Madras Presidency and Mysore princely state.

That agreement had been validated by the Supreme Court in its order dated February 16, 2018, on a petition on the Cauvery River water dispute, he said, quoting the verdict: ‘The two Agreements of 1892 and 1924 had neither any political arrangement nor touched any facet of the sovereignty of India. Per contra, the Agreements cover the areas of larger public interests which do not have any political element and in this backdrop, the agreements are neither inoperative nor completely extinct.’

So, it would be a wrong move on the part of Andhra Pradesh to build the dam in violation of the 1892 agreement, he said. Earlier, in 2006, when a bid was made to construct a check dam at Ganeshapuram in Kuppam constituency during the tenure of Chandrababu Naidu as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, the State government had approached the Supreme Court.

That case, along with another petition objecting to the raising of the heights of 22 other check dams across Palar, was still pending in the Supreme Court and at that time it was not appropriate for the Andhra Pradesh government to build another dam, which would also amount to contempt of court, he said.

If the new check dam was constructed, reportedly at Shantipuram in Kuppam constituency at a cost of Rs 215 crore, it would be the 23rd check dam across River Palar and would turn the area irrigated by the inter-state river in Tamil Nadu into a desert, farmers claim.

Even now, due to the raising of the height of existing check dams in Andhra Pradesh, water flow into Tamil Nadu happened only when River Palar was in spate during floods, pointed out the farmers, adding that the new dam would only spell disaster for the farmers depending on Palar water for irrigation.

It is said that about 4.5 lakh hectares of agricultural land in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu was dependent on Palar river water, whose flow is even otherwise erratic, and those tracts of land would fully dry up if yet another check dam comes up.

Tamil Nadu has been having running feuds with Karnataka over the sharing of Cauvery water, which has now turned acute with the proposal to build a dam across the river at Mekedatu, and with Kerala over the Mullaiperiyar river water sharing for a long time. Now the Palar had only been added to the list of river water disputes with neighbouring States.


Similar News