Andhra opposes Telangana’s Kaleshwaram project in SC, 5 months after Jagan attends inauguration
Strongly opposing the construction of the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project being built by the Telangana government on Godavari River at a cost of Rs 80,000 crore, the Andhra Pradesh government has appealed to the Supreme Court to direct the Centre not to grant national project status to it.
An additional counter-affidavit to this effect was filed before the Supreme Court early this week in connection with a case pertaining to implementation of provisions of the AP Reorganization Act, by retired IAS officer L Premchandra Reddy, member-secretary of the AP Advisory Committee.
The submission of the affidavit comes in the wake of reports that the initial bonhomie between Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao has disappeared following the former’s recent decision to go ahead with his own Godavari-Krishna river linkage project, thereby dumping KCR’s proposal to construct a joint river-linkage project.
Interestingly, Jagan attended the formal inauguration of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project along with KCR at Medigadda in Telangana’s Jayashankar Bhupalpally district on June 20 and lauded the efforts of KCR in providing irrigation to the parched lands of Telangana.
In the latest affidavit, the Andhra Pradesh government’s representative argued that the Telangana’s government had violated the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal Award and AP Reorganisation Act in taking up projects for utilizing 450 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of Godavari waters.
“In the name of re-engineering, the Telangana government has taken up Kaleshwaram project (in place of the original Pranahita-Chevella project) to utilize 225 tmc of Godavari waters. This is a new project with a complete change in the scope of the original project. Despite several objections, the Central Water Commission gave clearance to the project in June 2018,” he said.
Stating that the Kaleshwaram project was prejudicial to the interests of the farmers of Andhra Pradesh downstream of Godavari river, the AP government argued that Kaleshwaram cannot be given a national project status.
The Andhra Pradesh government also opposed the interlocutory petition of Telangana in the Supreme Court challenging the construction of the Polavaram project on the Godavari River. It argued that as per the AP Reorganization Act, Polavaram is a national project and Telangana is deemed to have given its consent for the project.
It said Telangana would be in no way affected with the construction of Polavaram project, as the villages in seven blocks that were supposed to be submerged under the backwaters of the project had been merged with Andhra Pradesh during the bifurcation. No part of Telangana would be submerged due to the Polavaram project, it pointed out.
Telangana strongly objected to the affidavit filed by the Andhra government in the Supreme Court. “Kaleshwaram project is being constructed well within the quota of 954 tmc of Godavari waters allocated by the tribunal. It will not affect the water flow in the river in Andhra which gets most of its inflows from Sabari, Indravathi and Sileru tributaries which are in the downstream of Kaleshwaram. They are more than sufficient for Polavaram and other projects,” chairman of Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation V Prakash said.
On Telangana’s affidavit on Polavaram, Prakash said it was done only to get clarity on the possibility of submergence of Bhadrachalam and surrounding areas in Godavari once Polavaram is completed. “We only wanted a revised study on the submergence issue and are not opposed to the project,” he clarified.