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Maharashtra unhappy

Staff Reporter

Mumbai: Stating that the judgement of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) had its “positives and negatives,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday expressed concern over the decision to raise the height of the Almatti dam in Karnataka.

Pointing to a flood scare, Mr. Chavan said at a press conference here: “This is an issue of concern. We wanted the height of the dam to be reduced from the current 519.6 metres. However, the [Tribunal] has decided to raise it to 524.25 metres. We are disappointed with this decision. It is not in our favour as it increases the risk of floods in Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli.”

In the three-month period given for clarification, the government will approach the Tribunal over this issue. “We will propose the setting up of a Joint Management Committee to manage the operations of the Almatti dam in such a way that water is released in stages and there is no threat of floods in Maharashtra. Our aim is that floodwater should not enter a single house, village or street in Maharashtra,” Mr. Chavan said.

On the distribution of Krishna water, he said, Maharashtra's share had increased by 81 TMC from 585 TMC. Its share has now gone up to 666 TMC.

The State's demand for reducing the dependability criterion for water sharing from 75 per cent to 50 per cent has been partly met.

“Maharashtra had demanded that the computation of water availability be based on 50 per cent dependability, but the Tribunal [fixed] it at 65 per cent,” he said.

On the other hand, the decision to allow Maharashtra to divert an additional 25 TMC from the Koyna dam for power generation went entirely in the State's favour. Calling it “a major step,” Mr. Chavan said, “Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh had asked for lowering this diversion, but the limit has been increased. This allows us to generate more electricity in the evening when there is peaking shortage. This [decision] will alleviate shortage.”

Refraining from an explicit comment on the Tribunal's award, Mr. Chavan said, “This is a first-cut reaction. We will give the official reaction after a detailed study of the report and an analysis of its implications.”

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