water rules finalised sent for gazette publication government

AURANGABAD: The state government on Thursday told the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court that it has finalised the Maharashtra water resources regulatory authority rules and has sent them for publication in the official gazette.

Following a petition filed by Marathwada Janata Vikas Parishad, the high court had on April 17 directed the state government to finalise the rules within two weeks.

The Marathwada Janata Vikas Parishad had approached the high court, seeking directions to the government on various issues, including release of water into Jayakwadi from upstream dams and to frame the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Rules.

The rules pertain to the authority's functioning, including ensuring equitable distribution of water as contemplated under Section 12 (1) (c) of the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act (MWRRA), 2005, said senior lawyer Pradeep Deshmukh who represented the Vikas Parishad.

The petition came up for the hearing before the bench comprising Justice Naresh H Patil and Justice AV Nirgude. Deshmukh brought to the court's notice the order passed by the bench on April 17, directing the government to frame the rules under the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Rules within two weeks. He pointed out to the court that the government has not till date placed on record the final rules, though the two-week limit was over.

Government pleader Sunil Kurundkar placed on record the state's letter in which it was stated that the final rules "are approved and are sent for publication in the official gazette and publication would be expedited".

Deshmukh also pointed out to the court as to what transpired in the Supreme Court on May 8 in connection with the April 24 high court order, directing the state government to release the water into Jayawadi dam from upstream reservoirs. Deshmukh placed on record the affidavit filed by the chief administration of Command Area Development Authority in the Supreme Court. He also told the high court that the matter has been placed in the Supreme Court for hearing on June 18.

The Vikas Parishad lawyer brought to the notice of the court the affidavit filed by the chief administrator of the Command Area Development Authority that "live storage in Jayakwadi was at zero level. However, the dead storage is 24.10 TMC. It is assured on behalf of the state government that the need of drinking water for civic bodies in Aurangabad, Jalna, Ambad, Georai as well as 34 rural water supply scheme providing water to 205 villages, having total population of 35 lakh population, is 1.85 TMC. Considering the evaporation and other losses, more than five TMC will be required and the same will be made available by making arrangement for lifting of the water. The concerned authorities have also been given instructions to this effect".

Deshmukh added that in view of this affidavit, the Supreme Court has stayed further release of water from the upstream dams.

Government pleader Kurundkar said since the apex court had stayed only the HC order (April 24) to the state to release water from upstream dams, other issues in the Janata Vikas Parishad petition also came up for arguments. The high court fixed the next hearing on this petition for June 20.

Source - TOI - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/aurangabad/Water-rules-finalised-sent-for- gazette-publication-Government/articleshow/19981068.cms