SC declines AP govt’s plea against Babhali barrage

The plea of Andhra Pradesh government has been declined by the Supreme Court which was against the construction of Babhali barrage by Maharashtra in Nanded district for utilising the water of Godavari river.

The apex court told, “On the basis of facts which have come on record, a case of substantial injury of a serious magnitude and high equity that moves the conscience of the court has not been made out by Andhra Pradesh justifying grant of injunction.

“In light of the above, we hold that Andhra Pradesh is not entitled to the reliefs, as prayed for, in the suit,” a bench of justices RM Lodha, TS Thakur and AR Dave told.

However, the bench constituted a three-member supervisory committee having one representative from the Central Water Commission (CWC) and one representative each from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, with CWC representative being the chairman of the committee.

The committee has been tasked with supervising the operation of the Babhali barrage and to ensure Maharashtra maintains storage capacity of 2.74 TMC feet of water out of the allocation of 60 TMC feet given to the state for new projects under an agreement of October 6, 1975, between the two states.

Further, the bench said that the committee will look that “the gates of Babhali barrage remain lifted during the monsoon season, i.e, July 1 to October 28 and there is no obstruction to the natural flow of Godavari river during monsoon season below the three dams, Paithan, Siddheswar and Nizamsagar, towards Pochampad dam”.

The committee has to also ensure that “During the non- monsoon season i.e., from October 29 till the end of June next year, the quantity of water which Maharashtra utilises for Babhali barrage does not exceed 2.74 TMC feet of which only 0.6 TMC feet forms the common submergence of Pochampad reservoir and Babhali barrage and Maharashtra does not periodically utilise 2.74 TMC feet from time to time.”

Ex-CWC official gets four-year jail term in graft case

A special court has awarded a four-year jail term to a senior official of the Central Water Commission (CWC) in a funds misappropriation case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Dharmesh Sharma, in a recently pronounced order, awarded the jail term to former deputy director of CWC J.P. Sharma, for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy to appropriate government funds.

“In the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, I sentence the convict Sharma to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of four years under section 420-B of the Indian Penal Code,” said the court.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs.75,000 on Sharma.

The court was hearing a case registered Nov 29, 2002, alleging that Sharma – with some of his family members and other officials – allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy and misappropriated funds of the government.

The court observed: “The accused adopted corrupt and illegal means in procuring 12 cheques from his department, which he got deposited in the account of his family members, withdrawing the amount and thereby deriving pecuniary benefit.”

The court acquitted the other accused.