River boards to manage all projects: Govt rejects Andhra, T’gana pleas
The Centre has turned down requests from the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments not to bring all irrigation projects being built on Krishna and Godavari rivers under the respective river management boards of the Union ministry of Jal Shakti, but to restrict them to only inter-state projects, officials familiar with the development said on Sunday.
In a recent communication to the Andhra Pradesh government, joint secretary of Union Jal Shakti ministry Sanjay Awasthi said as per the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, all the major and medium irrigation projects built on Krishna and Godavari rivers during the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh regime would be brought under the purview of the river management boards.
Since all the projects in the respective river basins are inter-linked, they cannot be seen in isolation and hence, should be monitored by the river management boards, a senior official of the Andhra Pradesh state irrigation department said, quoting the Union ministry.
On July 15, 2021, the Union ministry issued a gazette notification bringing 36 projects in the Krishna basin and 71 in the Godavari basin in both Telugu states under the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and Godavari River Management Board (GRMB), respectively.
The projects were to be handed over to the two boards from October 14 for administration, operation, maintenance and regulation of their components, including barrages, dams, reservoirs and other regulating structures, besides hydel power plants, part of the canal network and transmission lines.
However, the two-state governments raised objections to the Union ministry over the gazette notifications. At the first KRMB meeting on August 4, which was boycotted by the Telangana government, the Andhra officials suggested that only projects like Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar and Pulichintala, which are common to the two states, be brought under the purview of the board.
Similarly, Telangana also wrote a letter to the KRMB in the first week of December to exempt the Jurala irrigation project and two other lift irrigation projects – Nettempadu and Bhima built on Krishna river – from the purview of the board, as it purely serves the needs of Telangana and had no dispute with Andhra Pradesh.
However, the Union Jal Shakti officials made it clear that all the irrigation projects and the schemes associated with them under both the Krishna and Godavari basins would be brought under the control of the respective river management boards.
“All these projects were mentioned in the AP Reorganisation Act; and hence, were brought under the purview of the boards. If any project has to be given any exemption, it requires necessary amendments to the Act by Parliament,” the irrigation department official said, quoting Awasthi’s letter.
Concerning the projects being constructed post bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh, the Union minister said both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh should submit the detailed project reports (DPRs) of these projects to the ministry for clearance within six months.