New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh to file an affidavit stating the 1980 Godavari River Water Tribunal Award, which governs the Polavaram project, binds them.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta gave this direction following submissions on behalf of these states that the award binds them. The Indira Sagar (Polavaram) Dam also known as Polavaram project is being undertaken as per the award.
The court also asked the Secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry to file an affidavit reaffirming the position that under the Inter State Water Dispute Act all were bound to accept the Justice Bachawat Godavari River Water Tribunal Award.
Asking the chief secretaries to file the affidavit, Justice Lokur said in that case they were only left with the interpretation whether the dam under construction was conforming to the award or not.
When it was submitted that it was difficult to find a political solution of the issue, Justice Lokur said, “If you want to have a meeting of chief ministers, you have it. If you don’t want to have a meeting, then you don’t have it. From the instructions to the counsel, it is obvious that no solution is possible.”
The court observation came as it pursued a letter written by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 28, 2017, urging him not to allow the construction of the Polavaram dam until all the issues being adjudicated by the top court are settled.
Patnaik had expressed concern over the Polavaram project saying it was being pushed without addressing its legitimate concerns and sacrificing the interest of the state.
In the last hearing of the matter on December 12, 2017, the states informed the court that discussions were going on between the chief ministers concerned to try and resolve the issues.
Odisha contended that the Polavaram Dam should be as per the award as any deviation would result in submergence of the tribal villages in Malkangiri district of the state. On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh is pressing for the project saying that it was essential for its irrigation needs.
However, the court said that the proceedings before it would not preclude the chief ministers of the six states from amicably resolving the issue.
It directed the matter to be listed for further hearing on April 17....