Wednesday, March 9, 2011



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[Back water levels }
The Krishna Water tribunal appointed by the Union Government to make proper allocation of  Krishna river waters to the basin states of Maharahstra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh stressed that the harm versus benefit balancing test is also an integral part of the doctrine of equitable apportionment of the common river waters .  (Page 627 of KWDT report).   The tribunal stated that in larger public interest even where the benefit obtained by the unilateral action of a river basin state outweighs the harmful  disadvantages likely to be suffered by a lower state the tribunal may not  interfere in such a case.  This concept is based on the view  that in the process of development there willbe certain minor injuries and disadvantages to a lower state and such minor damages can be compensated adequately without stopping the project that confers substantial benefits not only to the concerned states but also to the vast majority of a nation.   Since mere apprehension or frivolous objections by one state cannot stop any project taken up by another state in the river basin  unless the objecting state establishes its legal right and vital or substantial injury to it. 
The tribunal also admitted that if vital interests are substantial injury is involved to the upper or lower riparian states such injury based upon the facts of the case may sometimes be such that it may not be possible to compensate or the damaging costs may outweigh the benefit which may be obtained by the construction of the project by a state, that is to say where they harm caused to one state is more than the benefit obtained by the construction of the project by another state, the project may be objected by the state that suffers  and so the factual position will be important to take a just decision in each case.  (Page 676 of KWDT). 
Initially the Brajesh Kumar  Tribunal  was requestded to restrict the height of the Alamatti dam to 512.5m  by Maharashtra state and to 515.0 m by Andhra Pradesh and  both the states opposed the  increase inheight of Alamatti Dam to FRL at 524.26m as it would result in catastrophic situation for both the states. (Page  604 of KWDT). Originally,the Upper Krishna Project [UKP]comprised the Alamatti Dam and Narayanpur dams . The UKP Stage-I was approved in 1963 for utilizing 119 TMC and stage-II was approved on 31-5-2000 for FRL of 519.6m for utilization of 173 TMC  (Page 607 of KWDT) and Stage-III for utilization of additional 130 TMC  by raising the height of Alamatti dam from 519.6m to 524.26m was proposed by Karnataka and is approved by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) and this proposed increased is  opposed at present by Maharashtra and Karnataka states which have been  given time to make further representations   on the findings of the tribunal upto the end of March 2011 and for demanding the tribunal to revise the present orders on increasing the height of the Alamatti dam and pass the final award after hearing the Appeals from the states and the Union Government. .   
During the previous hearings on Krishna Water Disputes since 2004, the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal members put searching questions to the expert panels of officials and engineers and advocates of Maharashtra,Karnataka and Andhra pradesh to present evidence to show what kinds of substantial injuries and disadvantages the Maharashtra and AP States will experience if the height of the Alamatti dam is increased from 519.6m to requested by the Karnataka state Government.
Maharashtra state Government failed to show to the tribunal that their state will experience substantial injury and economic losses due to frequent submersion of lands consequent to increased backwater levels caused by the back push of the flood waters by the obstruction of Alamatti dam in the path of the natural flow regime of Krishna river in the mode of its open channel flow.  Submersion is caused by a dam to villages which will be permanently submerged under the reservoir created by the dam.   Submersion of lands occurs on either side of the upstream side of a dam and  construction of afflux bunds helps to contain the flood waters without flowing over the river banks. 
Submersion along the reservoir margins occurs due to siltation and the consequential increase in the level natural floods.  In the case of Maharashtra an expert was produced before the tribunal and Maharashtra examined Mr.S.Y.Shukla on the point of submergence of Maharashtra due to Alamatti dam with FRL at 519.6m.  Unfortunately Mr.Shukla admitted that there will be no submergence in Maharashtra region due to increase in the FRL of Alamatti dam but for the effect of siltation which occurs in the reservoir.  Even Karnataka examined its experts witness on the point of siltation and another expert also gave an opinion on behalf of  Maharashtra about the annual silt load.  M/s.TOJO Vikas, International company also engaged by the Government to make an independent indepth study on siltation study when the tribunal asked the advocate he stated that no objections were to be filed on these studies.  According to this study there was to be no backwater effect also the study indicates no submergence on account of siltation in Hipparigi and Alamatti dam and Maharashtra told the tribunal that they do not propose to file any objections to the reports submitted by the Tojo Vikas firm in whose study report on page-12 it is indicated that the lowering of the FRL at Alamatti dam offers no advantage to Maharashtra and it was held that so far the flood levels are concern, they continued to be the same as at pre-dam level (page 632 of KWDT).  It is shocking to realize how Maharashtra has accepted this view that Alamatti dam will not cause any change in the flood levels in Maharashtra territory although the ground level of Maharashtra at Karnataka border in between Narsobavadi and Ankali is 518m above the mean sea level while the full reservoir level of Alamatti is proposed to be kept at 524.26m in the initial stages which may be ultimately taken to 528.8m for hydro power generation.  Since water flows from a higher to a lower level any person with common sense can understand that Maharashtra territory will be highly flooded due to Alamatti dam.  Surprisingly when a joint study by the Karnataka and Maharashtra Engineers were made to evaluate the potential submersion of Maharashtra territory due to Alamatti dam they jointly certified that even Alamatti dam is raised upto FRL 524.26m there will not be any submersion in Maharashtra due to Alamatti and this report was accepted by the CWC. 
The most crucial aspect of submersion of lands upstream of a barrage/dam occur due to the build up of these flood level during extreme flood flows that occur during rainy season due to vigorous monsoon rainfalls  caused by prolonged depressions and cyclones with great intensity caused by impacts of climate change and such back water levels have to be calculated based upon principles of open channel flow hydraulics.  In the present case Krishna water Tribunal  has considered only back water level impacts caused by Alamatti dam only from the angle of siltation and sedimentation which does not deserve so much of attention in preference to more serious problem of build-up of back water levels to be estimated on the fundamental principles of open channel flow.  Perhaps the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal members were completely misguided on this crucial factor which governs public safety rehabilitation and resettlement, ecological and environmental  damaging impacts on agriculture and animal husbandry, Emergency Action Plans, construction of embankment structures to provide flood proof facilities for hundreds of villages in Karnataka and Maharashtra and the cost benefit analysis which perhaps shows that the proposed project for raising the Alamatti dam becomes economically unviable and thereby forces the Karnataka state to build safer and economical barrages and small dams in preference to this killer Alamatti dam. .  It means that the experts of Maharashtra and CWC took a  a very narrow view of the critical impacts of Back water Levels arising from extreme floods during rainy seasons,depressions and cyclones of prolonged duration along with the CWC  and consequently their decisions  are bound to be very harmful to the interests of lakhs of farmers of Maharashtra and the interests of lakhs of people in the several towns and cities of Maharashtra whose lives and properties have to be sacrificed for the sake of an unsafe, uneconomical and environmentally hazardous and that too a killer dam at Alamatti which may burst in its life time as envisaged by the Karnataka Irrigation minister who consulted his experts and concluded the the safety of Dams in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh is in danger for many reasons and so warned the union Government to take remedial action in time as seen from web site:.

When Karnataka wanted clearance for Stage-II of Alamatti dam, the Technical Advisory Committee gave conditional clearance on 31-5-2000 insisting on restricting FRL 519.60m and utilization of 173 TMC under Stage-I and Stage-II of the UKP subject to Environmental  clearance and also subject to the operation of the project in such a manner that there will not be any submergence in Maharashtra territory.  This condition is like the condition imposed by the judge in the Shakespearian drama of Merchant of Venice where the plaintiff Shylock will be directed to take his pound of flesh from the body of the victim without a drop of blood.  The Environmental clearance for Stage-II of Alamatti was given by the Union Ministry of Environment on 4-10-2000 subject to the condition that Karnataka will submit Dam Break Analysis and Disaster Management Plan within 6 months.  AP State advocate Deepankar Gupta questioned about the dam break analysis report for FRL 519.6m for Alamatti dam on 12-5-2009 and raised objections against the Dam Break Analysis work under taken by the CWC.  But according to the dam break analysis report there was no fear of inundation of any villages below the dam because the flood wave will be contained within the banks of river and this recommendation was attacked on merits by the AP state but unfortunately Karnataka stated that the dam break analysis got done through an independent and reliable agency and hence there should be no reason to raise any grievance or doubt on that account about this project submitted in February, 2002 almost after a delay of one year.  But surprisingly the Brijesh Kumar tribunal took a wrong view on this report and said “we also find that some efforts has been made on behalf of the State of Andhra Pradesh to question the correctness of the report but we do not think it would be a matter to be examined on merits by this Tribunal.  It has been indicated earlier also that according to the dam break analysis report, there was to be no inundation in the downstream area beyond the banks of the river.  It shall be confined within the banks.
Further AP State questioned why the disaster management report was not prepared under Rule 5 (iii) (a) of the Environmental Protection Rules 1986.  But Karnataka said that when no inundation occurs according to the dam break analysis, no question of the next step of preparing Disaster Management Plan arose. (Page 671 of KWDT).  These statements by the Krishna Water Tribunal and Karnataka state are invalid because AP State Government experts should have been questioned by the Tribunal whether the dam break analysis report prepared by the CWC for the Alamatti dam is scientifically correct and it should have been examined by independent experts to find out if the results show irreparable injury to the AP farmers and causes serious economic losses in terms of loss of agricultural production and hydro-power generation and any damaging impacts on the irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh.
Most of the confusion about the project was due to illegal intereferences by Sri.B.Sankaranand, former Union Water Resources Minister and Shri.Ramakrishna Hegde, former Dy.Chairman of the Planning Commission and both of them hailed from  Karnataka for whose development these Karnataka leaders have manipulated for securing clearances since 1990.[SEE Reports in Andhra prabha,dated 13-8-1996] and also the reports on Chief Minister,NAIDU speeches printed in EENADUdaily dated 12-8-1996 and 13-8-1996]
Karnataka was given permission by the Planning Commission and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Ministry of Water Resources on 22-4-1978 for only the first stage works of the UKP and no permission was given for the second stage .In fact,TAC advised Karnataka to restrict their works as proposed under the first stage only. In order to nullify the objections Karnataka sent revised proposals to the Union Government in 1988 for approval. ThenTAC pointed out the illegal constructions  by Karnataka and listed them as follows.
1.       1]Completion of spillway works upto 500m elevation abovethe mean sea level.
2.     2]Completion of Non-overflow sections in the lieft canal upto elevation 515m and upto 527.57m in right canal.
3.       3]Completion of Power House dam upto 496.5m elevation.
See the following letters and their abstracts to understand the manipulations made in case of Alamatti Dam
Lr.No.2(10)/89-Irrigation Command Area Development, Dt.24-9-90.
From                                                                                  To
 J.S.Nanda                                                                              The Secretary,
Dy.Advisor to the Planning Commission,                                   Department of Planning,
Yojana Bhavan,                                                                     Government of Karnataka,     
New Delhi-110 001.                                                              Bangalore.

We are pleased to modify the works under Stage-I of Alamatti dam as sanctioned in 1978 to incorporate the following changes:-
1)      Increase spillway crest of Alamatti dam from 500m to 509m
2)      By fixisng radial gates of 3.2m over the crest the reservoir level as approved in 1978 may be kept at 512.2m
3)      Alamatti dam height be raised to fix the water level in the reservoir at 523.8m
Planning Commission has no objection for Karnataka Government to incur expenditure for the project works mentioned in the annexure on second page.

Project works sanctioned during a second revision of stage-I of Upper Krishna Project.
1)Radial gates must be fixed on the spillway.
2) By fixing the spillway at 509m, the crest gates may be increased from 523.8m to 528.25m for hydro-power generation.
3) Lift irrigation schemes may be provided from 5 places in the Alamatti reservoir.
According to a letter from M.K.Sinha, Director, Project Appraisals, CWC to The Chief Engineer of Upper Krishna Project the detailed project report of UKP Stage-II was received by the CWC for Techno Economic Appraisal that they have cleared the gates design, subject to compliance of certain observations “According to this letter it is only technical clearance for the gates design but not a total clearance from the angle of water availability.  BYPASSING the existing Norms on Water availabilty, the Union Government sanctioned the Stage-II of the Alamatti dam and  is said to have sanctioned Rs.182 crores. (4-7-1996)
The Union Minister for water resources stated that clearance of Union Government for Alamatti dam is for a full Reservoir Level of 512.2m only and the Stage-II of Upper Krishna Project envisaging higher full Reservoir Level is still under examination by the Central Water Commission (CWC).  It means the approval of CWC for crest gates of 15m is only a technical sanction but not a clearance for the project from the point of water availability.  Hence the sanction given by Planning Commission in 1990 for Karnataka to increase the height of the dam is illegal as it violates the Bachawat Award. (11-7-1996)and also conditions stipulated in thePermission granted for the project in 1978.

Inspite of the above irregularities the Planning Commission gave approval to Karnataka on 24-9-1990 for more illegal works including raising of the spillway crest from 500 to 509m and increasing the height of Alamatti dam upto 528m and inclusion of the components of second stage of 1990 to get merged with the components of the project under the stage-I approved in 1978.
But the subsequent letters sent by the Union Minister for water Resources  to A.P.state on Alamatti project in his letter dt.11-7-1996 stated that the Union Government has cleared permission only for the stage-I of Alamatti dam and that the Stage-II report of the project is still under consideration and if any changes against the spirit and conditions of the Bachawat Tribunal have to be approved. , the AP state Government and Maharashtra will have to give their consent for such modifications if any.
Even the Director,Project Appraisals of the CWC wrote to the Chief Engineer that their report of 1993 on Stage-II of the Alamatti project was received by the CWC for Techno-Economic Appraisal and that they have cleared the design for the gates subject compliance of certain observations.  It is only a technical clearance for the design of the gates and not a total clearance from the angle of water availability for the project.  When Planning Commission and CWC gave clearance in 1978 the height of the Alamatti dam was to be kept at about 512m .  Hence the subsequent permissions given in 1990 by the Planning Commission to increase the height of  Alamatti dam upto 528.2m is  definitely an illegal action because AP state and Mahrashtra were not consulted as parties to the inter state water dispute.
By  permitting raising Alamatti Dam Height to 528 meters for hydro-power production occupying second priority in National water policy,2002 ,authorities are depriving timely irrigation water supplies to Andhra farmers whose first pririty is irrigation that produces food for survival of people
 Although Planning Commission promoted increased height in Alamatti dam in 1990 it was specifically stated that the action was to promote hydro=power generation.  although the Karnataka Government never included any detailed project report for the purpose and the central Electricity Authority permitted Karnataka in January, 1996 to increase hydro-power generation from 267 to 1107MW.  Thus the permissions given by the Central Government agencies to increase the height of the Alamatti dam without taking the consent  of the co-riparian states is violative of Bachawat Tribunal Award and Environmental Protection Act 1986
The  Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal opted to fail in providing justice to Save Millions of Farmers
How can pdeople believe that that the Tribunal members are ignorant about the legal aspects of National water Policy,2002 on water allocation priorities  for irrigation and Hydro-power generation and the rules under The Environmental Protection Act,1986?
without taking into consideration all these illegal actions done byt he Karnataka state Government and the Central Government Agencies like Planning Commission, the Union Minister of Water Resources, the CWC and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal on Krishna Water Dispute failed to study indpeth the above mal-practices and the provisions under the notifications of the Environmental Protection Act, the question of submersion of lands due to backwater afflux created in Maharashtra by the increased height of the Alamatti dam and the denial of the timely supplies of irrigation waters to the farmers of A P state.  the tribunal erred in coming to correct decisions on Alamatti dam and hence a review must be made immediately in the interests of promoting the economic wealth, public health and welfare of lakhs of people in the 3 basin states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
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Born in 1932 at Mudinepalli, near Gudivada, Krishna Dist. Andhra Pradesh, received Bachelors degree in Civil Engg., from Viswesaraiah Engineering College, Banglore (1956) and Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from Rice university, Houston, Texas, (USA) (1962), Ph.D (Hony). Former Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and principal of College of Engineering, Andhra university.Formerly Hony.Professor in Andhra University,Manonmanian Sundarnar University,JNT University. Fellow of the Institution of Engineers,India Recipient of the University Grants Commissions National Award "Swami Pranavananda Award on Ecology and Environmental Sciences" for the year 1991. Recipient of Sivananda Eminent Citizen Award for 2002 by Sanathana Dharma Charitable Trust, Andhra Pradesh state. Presently Working as Director, centre for Environmental Studies, GITAM University,