Amaravati: In a relief to Andhra Pradesh, the Vamsadhara Water Dispute Tribunal (VWDT) has directed the Odisha state government to immediately commence a joint survey concerning the submergence of 106 acres of land. The survey map would be used for constructing Neradi Barrage, as part of the Vamsadhara project to be undertaken by AP Government.

The tribunal directed this work to immediately commence after monsoon, i.e. by the end of October 2019. It should be completed within six weeks under the active and direct supervision of the Central Water Commission.

A three-judge bench of the tribunal comprising Chairperson MK Sharma, Justice BN Chaturvedi and Justice Pratibha Rani gave this direction in its order delivered on Monday. Earlier, the tribunal had reserved its order on August 27 after completion of arguments by the counsels of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Union Government. The case is posted to January 10, 2020.

Vamsadhara River is an inter-state river originating in the Eastern Ghats of Kalahandi District in Odisha. On September 30, 1962, an agreement was made between Odisha and AP to share the available yield of 115 TMC of water assessed up to Gotta in Vamsadhara River Basin on a 50:50 basis. As per the recent assessment of CWC in 2007, the yield of Vamsadhara is 105 TMC.

The AP government has taken up the Vamsadhara project in two phases. The first phase, consisting of Gotta barrage and Left Main Canal, to irrigate an ayacut of 1.48 lakh acres by utilising 17.841 TMC of river water has been completed. Phase II involves the construction of Neradi Barrage.

However, the Odisha government did not give concurrence for the execution of Neradi Barrage on the ground of possible excess land acquisition over the mutually agreed 106 acres. They also mentioned the backwater effect due to barrage, in the wake of unprecedented floods of 1980. This resulted in litigation and constitution of the tribunal and several interim orders in this regard.

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