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TelanganaKCR urges Centre to stop Pothireddypadu expansion

KCR urges Centre to stop Pothireddypadu expansion

Published: 2nd Oct 2020 11:41 pm | Updated: 3rd Oct 2020 12:34 am

Hyderabad: Telangana has made an unequivocal assertion in staking its claim on its rightful share in Godavari and Krishna river waters and asked the Centre to direct Andhra Pradesh to stop work on expansion of Pothireddypadu regulator and construction of Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme.

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“…to enforce this, the operational control of Srisailam reservoir should be handed over to Telangana immediately”, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao said in a letter dashed off to the Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, on Friday.

The 14-page DO letter signed by the Chief Minister was sent to the Centre ahead of the proposed Apex Council second meeting slated to be held on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister took a tough stand in highlighting the injustices being done to Telangana, in the United Andhra Pradesh and even after the state bifurcation. The Chief minister pointed out that Telangana, which had struggled for six decades to get its fair and equitable share of water, has already lost seven long and valuable years after its formation due to the inaction of the Government of India.

“I request you to include the allocation of water issues raised in this letter as agenda items in the second Apex council meeting. Instead of prolonging the meaningless dispute between the two newly formed states, the Government of India is requested to make the terms of reference to the present Tribunal for allocation of fair and equitable share of the waters of river Krishna to both States without further loss of time,” he said.

Here are the excerpts of the letter

Krishna River

The Chief Minister pointed out that the struggle for the formation of a separate Telangana State was the injustice in allocation of water in combined Andhra Pradesh. The gross injustices included scrapping of Upper Krishna Project with utilisation of 54.4 tmc, Bhima project with utilisation of 100.7 tmc and Tungabhadra left bank canal with utilisation of 19.2 tmc. Even, Nagarjunasagar Dam was shifted from Yelleshwaram to Nandikonda, to the disadvantage of Telangana.

The Chief Minister said that these injustices were recorded by the Bachawat Award itself .“The State of Andhra Pradesh, no doubt, has been allocated enough water for historical reasons, but still Telangana part of the State of Andhra Pradesh stands in need of irrigation. The area which we are considering for irrigation formed part of Hyderabad State and had there been no division of that State. There were better chances for the residents of this area to get irrigation facilities in Mahabubnagar District. We are of the opinion that this area should not be deprived of the benefit of irrigation on account of the reorganisation of States,” he said quoting the Tribunal.
He further added that he was sad to say that even after seven long years after the formation of the State, relief to Telangana in getting its rightful share has not been realized due to the gross inaction on the part of Government of India.

Right of Telangana to know

As Telangana people suffered for decades for want of adequate water, Telangana government complained to the Centre on July, 14, 2014, demanding equitable allocation of Krishna waters. He recalled that he had even written a letter to the Prime Minister in 2018 and had also raised the issue during meetings. However, no action was taken till date by the Centre, he lamented. Pointing out that every State has a right to get a fair and equitable allocation of river waters, he said even after seven years of its formation, Telangana State was yet to know its legitimate share of water.

Pothireddypadu Head Regulator Project

Chandrashekhar Rao strongly objected to the expansion of Pothireddypadu Head Regulator and the newly proposed Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme by Andhra Pradesh. He reminded that the project itself was illegal as it has no water allocation, no approvals by any statutory authority and it was meant to send water outside Krishna Basin. “Krishna River is to meet the needs of Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy and Hyderabad districts, some of which are also suffering from excess fluoride content in drinking water,” Chief Minister said. The Bachawat Award had also emphasized the need to first fulfill the in-basin needs stating that the lands of a river basin have prior claim on the waters of a river system and any part of these waters can be used for irrigation outside the basin only if that part is surplus after meeting the full requirements of the lands within the basin. Any irrigation use outside the basin, ignoring the claims of the basin itself, must sooner or later lead to undesirable complications , he added.

He made it clear that though the Rayalseema Lift Irrigation Scheme was never sanctioned by any statutory body, Andhra Pradesh had proposed to lift 3 tmc per day from the bottom of Srisailam reservoir and transport it to the Pennar and adjoining basins, through a GO on May 5 ,2020. ” Andhra Pradesh has gone ahead with the finalisation of tenders for the work despite our strong objections and the orders given by KRMB not to proceed with the Project. It has also issued additional administrative sanctions amounting to approximately Rs. 24,000crores for works related to transfer of Krishna waters to the Pennar Basin,” Chief Minister wrote.

The Pothireddypadu Head Regulator was approved for a capacity of 1500 cusecs for providing water for Chennai city. However, the Government of the combined state compromising the interest of Telangana constructed it with a capacity of 11,150 cusecs and subsequently enhanced it to 44,000 cusecs, even though the matter was sub-judice before KWDT-II, and did not have any prior sanction. “Now they are further expanding it illegally to 80,000 cusecs to transfer Krishna waters to outside basin areas. Even with the existing capacity of 44,000 cusecs, Andhra Pradesh has lifted 179 tmc of water outside the basin in 2019-20 .

“If Andhra Pradesh is allowed to go ahead with their nefarious and illegitimate expansion plans now, there will be no water available to meet the requirements of existing projects in Telangana including the drinking water needs of the capital city Hyderabad, which is a mega metropolis of India, and which is very much within Krishna Basin, ” he said. In these circumstances, we would like to request you to kindly direct the Andhra Pradesh Government to immediately stop these diversions as in addition to being illegal, they will also be severely detrimental to projects sanctioned in the Telangana region by the erstwhile combined State.

Chief Minister said that the Government of India must take immediate and effective action to stop further diversion of Krishna waters through the Pothireddypadu regulator and prevent the Andhra Pradesh government from implementing the proposed Rayalseema Lift Irrigation Scheme and other allied works.

Ineffective supervision of KRMB

Bringing the consistent failures of KRMB to the notice of the Union Minister , the Chief Minister said though the matter of Pothireddypadu Regulator and the Rayalseema Lift Irrigation Scheme was first brought to the notice of KRMB as early as in February, 2020, they have failed to take any action to stop Andhra Pradesh Government from calling for tenders relating to out-of-basin transfer from Krishna Basin.

“KRMB has remained a mute spectator to the large scale drawl of waters from Pothireddypadu Regulator in spite of our repeated complaints. Despite central government’s clear cut directions to establish Telemetry system within three months after the high level meeting chaired by Secretary, MoWR in 2016, no such system has been installed to monitor the illegal drawls till date. We are also shocked by the instructions given by KRMB to stop releases of water from Srisailam Left Bank Power House ,” Chief Minister said.

He informed that the Srisailam is a Hydro-Electric project has a provision of 33 tmc for evaporation losses as per the Bachawat Award. Water is released from the Srisailam reservoir to generate hydro-electric power on the way of its flow to Nagarjunasagar to meet the irrigation requirements of 6 lakh acres of ayacut and drinking water needs of over 1 crore population (including Hyderabad city). While remaining silent about the illegal drawl of waters from the Pothireddypadu Regulator by Andhra Pradesh, it is surprising that KRMB has seen it fit to stop us from generating power in the middle of the agricultural season, he pointed out.

As per the working arrangements made earlier the responsibility to operate the Nagarjunasagar Project was given to Telangana and Srisailam Project to Andhra Pradesh. “It is evident that not only has KRMB failed to play its role as a monitor effectively, but even Andhra Pradesh has taken advantage of this arrangement to illegally draw huge quantities of water from Pothireddypadu. In the circumstances we request that the operation and control of Srisailam Project should also be given to Telangana,” he demanded.

Issues related to AP Reorganization Act 2014

As per Section-89 of the Andhra Pradesh Re-organization Act, 2014, KWDT-II has to make project-wise specific allocation and determine an operational protocol for release of waters in the event of deficit flows. However, the Terms of Reference of KWDT II does not permit inter-se reallocation of water to the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The KWDT-II in one of its orders on October 19 ,2016 held that the issue of allocation of water to Telangana can be taken up only after the Centre made a reference for the same under Section-3 of Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 “Had the Government of India taken action on the complaint of Telangana to refer this matter under Section-3 this issue would have been resolved by this time. Unfortunately due to the inaction and gross negligence of Government of India by not referring this matter under Section-3 to the Tribunal, the matter remains unresolved,” he said.

Since the overall allocation of Krishna waters between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh is still to be made and operational protocol is yet to be formulated by the Tribunal, it would be premature and meaningless to discuss the jurisdiction of the River Management Boards at this stage., Chief Minister noted. ” In the fitness of things, their jurisdiction and other matters pertaining to their functioning should only be taken up after reference under Section-3 has been to KWDT-II and all matters related to Krishna water allocations and operational protocols are settled,” he added.

On Godavari River

Terming as false, the allegations of AP that seven new projects taken up by Telangana in Godavari basin, he Chief Minister said that all these projects were contemplated, designed, and grounded by the erstwhile AP State itself, before the bifurcation. Administrative and technical sanctions, water allocations, finalisation of contracts and land acquisitions were all taken up in the erstwhile combined State, and an expenditure of Rs 15 to 20 thousand crores was incurred on these seven projects even before the Telangana State was formed.

“For example, Godavari Lift Irrigation Scheme (GLIS) scheme was given administrative sanction in 2001 . By 2014 an expenditure of Rs 7292 crore had already been incurred on this project. The Kanthanapalli Project, which was originally a part of the GLIS scheme was shifted about 20 Km upstream to Tuppakulgudem village, to avoid submergence of 11,408 acres of tribal lands in 17 villages. To honour the tribal people it was renamed as Sammakka Sagar Project after the local tribal deity. It is funny to see that AP is now calling it a new project,” he said.

Similarly the erstwhile Pranahita Chevella Project was reengineered to avoid submergence of lands in Maharashtra, to create adequate reservoir capacity as per Central Water Commission’s advice, and make it suitable for the requirements of the Telangana State. Keeping in view the local sentiments and traditions, the project was renamed as the Kaleshwaram Project. Chief Minister said that even the Ministry of Water Resources has accepted that Kaleshwaram project is not a new project.

The Sitarama Project is being implemented by merging the erstwhile Rajiv Sagar and Indira Sagar projects sanctioned in 2005 . Due to the bifurcation of the State the head works of Indira Sagar came under the submergence of Polavaram Project, and much of the proposed ayacut went to Andhra Pradesh due to transfer of seven mandals as per the amendments made to the Reorganization Act by the Government of India.
Hydrological clearance for the redesigned Sitarama Project has also been duly obtained by Telangana State. While making these modifications in the projects started in the combined State, it was scrupulously ensured that the water allocation and utilisation was well within the earmarked share of Telangana region as determined by the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State. “Thus, these 7 projects cannot be called as new projects by any stretch of imagination,” he said.

Kaleshwaram

“I would like to inform you that the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, and the Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had inaugurated the Kaleshwaram Project on June 21, 2019, along with me. At that time nearly 95 percent of work on lifting 3 tmc per day was already completed,” he said. It now appears that Andhra Pradesh is objecting about the Kaleshwaram Project with the sole purpose of diverting attention from their own un-authorised and illegal activities at Pothireddypadu Regulator and Rayalseema Lift Irrigation Scheme.

Utilization of Godavari waters

On utilization of Godavari waters, in February 2014 the then Chief Minister of combined AP made a statement in the Assembly providing project-wise allocations for the existing and ongoing projects in the state. The projects in Telangana State were allocated 967.94 tmc water and 518.215 tmc was allocated to AP. This was based on an estimation of 1486.155 TMC water availability in Godavari for the combined State. This allocation works out to be 65.13 per cent of the total water for Telangana, though 80 per cent of river catchment lies in Telangana region of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. Thus, it is very clear that the erstwhile State of AP was awarded all remaining waters entering into the borders of the erstwhile State, he said.

In this context, it is worth noting that as per 53 years of Central Water Commission (CWC) gauge records at the last gauging station on Godavari River at least 3000 tmc of water flows into the Bay of Bengal after the utilisation of both the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh itself had allocated 65.1 per cent of the Godavari waters to Telangana region. The 3000 tmc of water flowing into the sea annually can also be used on pro-rata basis. Based on the total water requirement for irrigation, industry and drinking water, Telangana will use 1950 tmc water per year in comparison to present allocation of 967.15 tmc .

This additional water will be required for meeting the water requirements of more than one crore population of Mega- Metro city of Hyderabad which also has 30 to 40 lakh migrant workers. The needs of Hyderabad city are growing due to the expansion of IT and Pharma industries and the growth of its urban agglomerations.


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