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Six legislators quit over water

A nasty row over the sharing of Krishna river waters in Andhra Pradesh has taken a serious turn, with six legislators of the main opposition Congress Party resigning from the assembly.M Buddha Prasad, who heads the all-party committee said there was no point in continuing as legislators when farmers were facing tremendous problems.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2003 15:49 IST

A nasty row over the sharing of Krishna river waters among three regions of Andhra Pradesh has taken a serious turn, with six legislators of the main opposition Congress Party resigning from the assembly.

The six are protesting the delay in the release of water to the Krishna
delta.

The legislators, from Krishna and Guntur districts, sent their resignations to the state Congress leadership Tuesday with a request that they be forwarded to assembly speaker K Pratibha Bharathi.

State Congress president D Srinivas, however, urged the legislators
Wednesday to withdraw their resignations, saying there was no need for them to quit.

"It is the government's responsibility to supply water and our duty is to fight for the people's interests and hence there is no need for our legislators to resign," he said.

M Buddha Prasad, the Congress legislator who is heading an all-party
committee to protect the riparian rights of the Krishna delta, said that
there was no point in continuing as legislators when farmers were facing
tremendous problems.

Y Rajarama Chander, P Venkateswara Rao, M Hanumantha Rao, MV Ramana Rao and G Venkata Reddy are the other five legislators who have resigned.

Meanwhile, an indefinite hunger strike by Buddha Prasad and two other
legislators and five other leaders of the committee including a leader of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) entered the fifth day Wednesday.

Though the health of the leaders is deteriorating, they have vowed to
continue the fast till their demands were accepted.

A general strike is also being observed in the delta region Wednesday to
press the demand for daily release of 10,000 cusecs of water to save the
crops.

The other legislators have decided to join the fast from Thursday to protest the indifference of the government, which they say had damaged crops over 500,000 hectares of land

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is away in Israel, is in a
quandary -- because the release of water to the Krishna delta from the
Nagarjunasagar dam on the Krishna river could anger the Rayalaseema region, which is also demanding water from Srisailam, another reservoir on the same river, and Telangana, which is opposing release of water to both the regions.

Naidu will fly to Bangalore on Saturday to meet Karnataka Chief Minister
SM Krishna to request him to release 50 thousand million cubic (tmc) feet of water to the state to improve the storage level in Nagarjunasagar.

Farmers in the Krishna delta are continuing their protest by blocking
vehicular traffic and laying siege to irrigation and government offices.

For the first time in 150 years the Krishna delta, covering 1.3 million
hectares in four coastal districts, also known as rice bowl of the state, is facing a serious crisis due to scanty rainfall.