Telangana govt opposes Centre’s funding of Veligonda project in Andhra

Published on Aug 28, 2021 12:09 AM IST

The Veligonda project in Andhra will be undertaken in the Prakasam district with the hope to irrigate drought-affected areas in the districts of Prakasam, Nellore, and Kadapa by diverting floodwater from the Krishna river to the Srisailam reservoir.

Since 2014, issues between both states about water sharing have been cropping up from time to time, concerning irrigation and drinking water projects at the Krishna and Godavari rivers. (PTI)
Since 2014, issues between both states about water sharing have been cropping up from time to time, concerning irrigation and drinking water projects at the Krishna and Godavari rivers. (PTI)
ByYunus Y. Lasania, Hyderabad

The Telangana government on Friday wrote to the Union water resources ministry opposing the Centre’s funding for Andhra Pradesh’s Veligonda project as it supposedly diverts water from the Krishna river outside its basin, according to state government officials.

The Veligonda project in Andhra will be undertaken in the Prakasam district with the hope to irrigate drought-affected areas in the districts of Prakasam, Nellore, and Kadapa by diverting floodwater from the Krishna river to the Srisailam reservoir.

In a letter dated August 26 to the commissioner, State Projects Wing (ministry of Jal Shakti), Telangana state irrigation department engineer-in-chief C. Muralidhar requested the Centre to verify if the Veligonda project is eligible for funding under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sanchayi Yojna- Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (PMKSY-AIBP).

“It is learnt that the Veligonda project of Andhra Pradesh is being considered in the list of projects for funding under PMKSY-AIBP during the period 2021-26. … In this connection, it is stated that this project was taken up by erstwhile Andhra Pradesh based on surplus waters of river Krishna and does not have any clearance of CWC,” said Muralidhar’s letter.

The letter added that the Veligonda project (taken up in the erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh state) is shown as “unapproved project at item 1.10 of Schedule-2, Pg No. 29 Of Gazette notification dated 15.07.2021.” It argued that Telangana has also “vehemently opposed” the same (project).

Officials from Andhra Pradesh and the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) refused to comment on the matter.

Post bifurcation of Telangana from Andhra in 2014, the state was allotted 299 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) out of the total capacity of 811 TMC from the Krishna basin, while the rest was allocated to the latter.

Since then, issues between both states about water sharing have been cropping up from time to time, concerning irrigation and drinking water projects at the Krishna and Godavari rivers.

The letter from Telangana’s irrigation department comes just days before a crucial meeting between officials from the KRMB and Godavari River Management board (GRMB), along with officials from both states in to be held in Hyderabad on September 1 to discuss modalities and issues concerning the Centre taking over all of the projects under the Krishna and Godavari rivers, which run across both states.

The meeting, according to an official from Telangana who requested anonymity, was earlier scheduled for August 27 with an agenda comprising 14 issues but was postponed to September 1.

The meeting will essentially discuss the implementation of both the river managements taking over all the projects from both river basins. Earlier on July 15, a gazette notification for the same was passed by the Centre, which stated that the KRMB and GRMB will take control fully from October 14.

Moreover, as per the agreement between both states, the KRMB also has to shift to Andhra, while the GRMB will permanently be in Telangana. As of now, the KRMB is in Hyderabad given that it is still the joint capital of both states till 2024.

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