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March 20, 2011




Page: 23/38

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Krishna Tribunal on Alamatti
A major threat to western Maharashtra

By Prof Shivaji Rao

In fact the Controller and Auditor General in his report for 2006, faulted Maharashtra State for failing to make Karnataka State to release six lakhs cusecs water from Alamatti Dam in August, 2005 to save the lives of hundreds of people and lakhs of hectares of cropped lands from inundation caused by the back waters getting accumulated in Sangli region due to the obstruction placed over the normal flow regime of Krishna river in the form of Alamatti Dam which transformed the normal water levels into abnormal and devastating floods.

WILL Maharashtra government stop devastation of Sangli,kolhapur and Satara districts from getting flooded frequently due to increasing levels of backwaters consequent to the proposed increase of the height of Alamatti Dam from the present full reservoir Level of 519.6 meters to 524.26 meters as accepted by the Brajesh Kumar Tribunal on Krishna waters dispute in December, 2010. In fact the Controller and Auditor General in his report for 2006, faulted Maharashtra State for failing to make Karnataka State to release six lakhs cusecs water from Alamatti Dam in August, 2005 to save the lives of hundreds of people and lakhs of hectares of cropped lands from inundation caused by the back waters getting accumulated in Sangli region due to the obstruction placed over the normal flow regime of Krishna river in the form of Alamatti Dam which transformed the normal water levels into abnormal and devastating floods.

Sangli region continuously suffered the disastrous consequences for about ten days because the Karnataka State refused to release six lakhs cusecs waters from Alamatti Dam under the plea that even with normal water release sixty villages were affected and by releasing six lakhs cusecs, six hundred villages in Karnataka region will be inundated.Even the Prime Ministers intervention to save Sangli from floods did not produce the desired results. Karnataka argued that Koyna was releasing four lakhs cusecs of flood waters and the other dams in Maharashtra were adding to the flood waters in Alamatti reservoir and there are severe limitations to the Karnataka State which has to store the required water for the benefit of the farmers who anticipate that if they empty Alamatti, they may not get sufficient water from Maharashtra or the deficiency in normal rainfall. Koyna Dam is located in a highly seismic locality and whenever there are tremors,the engineers will be forced to release huge quantities of waters to save the dam from developing cracks and collapse. In fact Karnataka State feared that such releases from upper dams in Maharashtra may result in serious safety problems to dams in Karnataka and also the Jurala, Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar dams in Andhra Pradesh including the Prakasam barrage and so the Karnataka Irrigation Minister consulted their experts and sent a request to Union Government to devise measures to ensur e safety of all dams in Krishna river basin in Karnataka and Andhrra Pradesh.

As legal experts, the Brajesh kumar Tribunal members are within their bounds if they restrict their duty to study the water availability in the river basin and make equitable distribution of water based on the reasonable demands of the basin states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Unfortunately the bureaucrats, advocates and technical experts employed by both the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh States miserably failed to make the Dam Break Analysis Report, Disaster Management Report and Emergency Action Plans for the increased height of Alamatti Dam as per regulations under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and never made the backwater levels computations to enlighten the tribunal members on the devastating impacts of increasing height of Alamatti Dam over the lives of millions of people,cattle populations and agricultural lands in Maharashtra due to backwater levels and in Andhra Pradesh due to a maximum credible accident caused by extreme floods, earthquakes, construction defects or human failures like opening of all the flood gates at Srisailam Dam during the devastating October, 2009 floods in Krishna river.

At least the Maharashtra State Government officials, engineers and advocates must create awareness about these critical problems so that the Ministers, legislators and Members of Parliament will get a chance to work in public interests as envisaged by the Indian Constitution and Mahatma Gandhi.




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