The VWDT, in its order dated June 26, 2021 had permitted the Andhra Pradesh government to go ahead with the construction of the barrage. Residents of Kasinagar in Gajapati and Gunupur and Gudari in Rayagada have expressed their concerns over the project and submitted memorandums to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the issue.
It is to be seen if the SC upholds the VWDT verdict or addresses Odisha’s concern.
As per sources, Neradi Barrage will have a right head sluice with a design capacity of 8,000 cusecs for meeting the requirements of Andhra Pradesh and a left head sluice for Odisha. The capacity of the latter, the VWDT had then said, must be intimated to Andhra Pradesh by the Odisha government within six months.
The cost of the proposed Neradi barrage will be borne by the two states on ayacut basis. On July 3, a team led by Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, D Krishnadas, Water Resources Minister AK Yadav, Palkonda MLA V Kalavati, Purunapatana MLA R Shanti and other officials had visited the site and directed the authorities concerned to expedite work on the barrage.
After the Vamsadhara Water Dispute Tribunal (VWDT) gave its nod to the Andhra Pradesh government to construct Neradi barrage across Vamsadhara river, officials from the neighbouring state have been visiting the site almost every day.
On the contrary, despite the fact that the project will submerge 106 acre of land in Rayagada and Gajapati districts, no official from Odisha has reportedly yet visited the site. Ganjam and Gajapati districts will also face water scarcity once the project is implemented.
What is the Vamsadhara River Water Dispute?
The Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha will hold talks to clear out all differences with regard to the sharing of Vamsadhara river waters.
Andhra Pradesh wants to build the Neradi bridge across the river which will be possible only after Odisha’s consent.
Andhra Pradesh also wants to complete the inter-linking of its Nagavali river with the Vamsadhara and expand the Madduvalasa Reservoir project soon.
Madduvalasa Project is a Medium Irrigation Project with a reservoir across Suvarnamukhi river, a tributary of Nagavali river.
Agriculture is the only assured economic activity for the people living in the backward region and in the absence of rapid industrialisation, there is a need to concentrate on irrigation projects to make agriculture a viable activity.
In February 2006, Odisha sent a complaint to the Central Government under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 regarding its water disputes with Andhra Pradesh pertaining to Inter-State River Vamsadhara. It demanded for the constitution of an Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunal for adjudication.