Chief Justice NV Ramana said today he would not hear the dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over the sharing of river Krishna waters on legal issues as he “belongs to both states” and urged the two state governments to go for mediation.
The Chief Justice indicated that he could opt out of the case.
“I don’t want to hear this matter legally. I belong to both the states. If the matter can be settled in mediation, please do that. We can help with that. Otherwise I will transfer this to another Bench,” Chief Justice Ramana said.
Andhra Pradesh, which has petitioned Supreme Court over the river water dispute, said it is a political issue and the government would decide.
The Chief Justice said: “I wish that both of you convince your Governments and settle the matter. We don’t want to interfere unnecessarily.”
The Supreme Court will take up the case on Wednesday.
Andhra Pradesh has accused Telangana of indiscriminately drawing water from the Krishna for its power requirements, going against an agreement in 2015, a year after a separate Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh has requested the Supreme Court for directions to the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti to take control of reservoirs of Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala that are common to both states. It says Telangana drawing water from these reservoirs has caused irreparable damage to downstream irrigation in Andhra Pradesh.
Two major rivers, Krishna and Godavari, flow through the states and the water sharing has caused friction between the neighbours ever since Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated.
At the core of the latest dispute is the Srisailam dam on the border separating the two states.
There are six dams on the Krishna river and a temporary agreement says its waters have to be shared between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the ratio of 34:66, or 299 tmc ft for Telangana and 512 tmc ft for AP.
Andhra Pradesh has accused Telangana of drawing more water from the common reservoirs for power generation.
The state also says the Srisailam reservoir water cannot be used for power generation unless the water level is above 834 ft but Telangana has been drawing water at less, making it difficult for Andhra Pradesh to draw its share for irrigation.