Telangana, Andhra Pradesh face of over Krishna river water
Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao regretted that the Jagan government had taken a unilateral decision at a time when Telangana was extending a friendly hand to its neighbour.Updated: May 12, 2020 19:39 IST
The bonhomie between Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy in the last one year seems all but over as the two states brace for a fight over the Krishna river waters.
The bone of contention between the two states is an order issued by the Andhra Pradesh irrigation department (GO Ms. No. 203) on May 5 according administrative approval to a series of schemes worth over Rs 7,000 crore aimed at drawing an additional quantity of six to eight tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of water per day from Srisailam reservoir on the Krishna river.
While the Telangana government described the order as illegal, unilateral and against the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, the Andhra Pradesh government defended the same stating that the new schemes were well within the state’s rights. The AP government also accused Telangana of constructing projects like Palamuru-Ranga Reddy lift scheme which was in violation of the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal.
As per the latest GO, the new schemes proposed by the AP government include construction of Rayalaseema lift scheme aimed at pumping three tmc of water from Sangameshwara into Srisailam Right Main Canal, upgradation of Pothireddypadu head regulator canal system to draw 80,000 cusecs of water from foreshore of Srisailam reservoir and other upgradation various works in existing canal system of Galeru-Nagari project to draw another 70,000 cusecs of water from Srisailam.
The Telangana chief minister, who held an emergency meeting with the irrigation department authorities late Monday night, regretted that the Jagan government had taken a unilateral decision at a time when the Telangana government was extending a friendly hand to its neighbour.
He said river waters should be utilised for the benefit of farmers in both the states setting aside all the differences and disputes of the past.
“I have taken the initiative by saying there should not be any ego or water basin problems in utilizing the water. It is very painful that despite this, the AP government declared a new scheme without even consulting with the Telangana state to lift water from Srisailam project unilaterally. This dented the very spirit with which water should be utilised by the two states with mutual cooperation,” he said.
KCR said the Jagan government’s move was highly objectionable and asked the officials to file a complaint in the Krishna Water Management Board and also the apex council under the Union water resources ministry. He also instructed the officials to approach the Supreme Court, if necessary.
The issue is likely to figure in the meeting of Krishna River Management Board to be held on Wednesday through video-conferencing.
KCR pointed out that the AP State Reorganization Act had clearly stipulated that if new irrigation projects are planned in AP or Telangana, they should get clearance from the apex committee. “But the AP government did not get any such approval. Srisailam project is a combined project of both AP and Telangana and water from this project should be utilised by both the States and AP cannot construct new projects unilaterally,” he argued.
Andhra Pradesh irrigation minister P Anil Kumar, however, clarified to reporters that the AP government was proposing the new schemes only to utilise surplus waters of Krishna river and was not trespassing into the rights of Telangana.
“Because of the disputes between the two states in the past, more than 800 tmc of Krishna water had gone waste into the sea. We are only trying to utilise a part of it during the flood season,” he explained.
Another senior YSRC lawmaker Malladi Vishnu said it was Telangana government which had constructed new projects like Palamuru-Ranga Reddy lift irrigation scheme on Krishna waters without apex council approval. “We are taking up projects well within our rights,” he asserted.
Last year, both the chief ministers had proposed to take up a joint irrigation project to divert surplus Godavari waters to Krishna basin so as to bring in more area under irrigation. Both KCR and Jagan held a few rounds of talks, followed by official-level meetings, but they have not made any headway till now.