Maha-AP CM Babli meeting flops

The meeting of the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra convened by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Monday ended without even preparing a roadmap for a permanent solution.

The political solution sought by an all-party delegation of Andhra Pradesh, which had called on the Prime Minister some days back, was not even discussed. The meeting that lasted for nearly an hour and-a-half was attended by the Union water resources minister, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, apart from the two Chief Ministers — Maharashtra’s Mr Ashok Chavan and AP’s Mr K. Rosaiah.

Emerging from the meeting, Mr Bansal said the Prime Minister discussed the Babli project with the Chief Ministers and it was noted that the matter was sub-judice.

“During the discussions it was noted that the matter was pending before the Supreme Court and the SC was likely to adjudicate on its own,” said Mr Bansal. It has been decided that the two states will abide by the apex court’s interim-order, he said. According to Mr Bansal, the meeting decided to direct the Central Water Commission (CWC) to examine the status of the compliance of the SC’s interim orders. The interim order to Maharashtra was not to stop the flow of water by storing it.

Earlier, AP had alleged that Maharashtra had violated SC’s interim-orders by installing gates at the barrage. It had also accused Maharashtra of ignoring the orders of the CWC and the agreement arrived at between the CMs of the two states. The TD president, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, had recently issued an ultimatum to Dr Manmohan Singh to resolve the Babli controversy by August 10. He had warned of a mass-agitation if the PM failed to do so.

Now, it remains to be seen how the political parties respond to this attempt by the Centre to throw the ball in the SC’s court, without attempting to settle it politically.

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