Hyderabad: After successfully ironing out irritants, particularly over river water sharing and irrigation projects, with Maharashtra and Karnataka, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is now focussing on building good neighbourly relations with the sibling State – Andhra Pradesh, following the resounding victory of YSRCP in the recent general elections and YS Jaganmohan Reddy becoming the Chief Minister. The positive vibes between Rao and Jagan was perceptible ahead of the general elections.
The change of guard in AP has ushered in a new era of understanding between the governments of the two States and sensitiveness to each other’s needs. Rao’s message was loud and clear at the swearing-in ceremony of Jagan in Vijayawada — the need of the hour is cooperation and not conflict. In making the statement, he took a major step towards bridging the perceived gap between people of the two States, bringing in a more congenial
atmosphere in which the two governments can function.
The Telangana Chief Minister made it clear that optimum utilisation of waters of Godavari and Krishna was the only way that would help the two States prosper together. Jagan responded positively to his call acknowledging the need to give top priority to resolving issues on water front. Solutions to issues over key projects being implemented by both the States on the two rivers are expected to be found sooner than later. The handing over of the buildings alloted to AP in the Telangana State Secretariat, pending for the past three years, is also expected to be resolved soon.
Cordial relations between the two States would help resolve issues promptly through dialogue across the table instead of waiting for directives from the river management boards concerned. Chandrashekhar Rao, it may be recalled, had taken the initiative of starting a dialogue with the Maharashtra government which resulted in the inter-State agreement that paved the way for the construction of the prestigious Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme. The agreement, which was never attempted before in undivided AP, came about within two years of the TRS rule, in 2016.
The relations with neigbouring Karnataka also witnessed a marked improvement over the past five years after Telangana attained Statehood. The governments of the two States are engaged in a ‘give-and-take’ negotiations that suits each other’s water needs. More recently, the Karnataka government responded positively to Telangana’s request for release of 2.5 TMC of Krishna water to meet the drinking water needs of erstwhile Mahabubnagar district.
Though similar efforts were made to maintain cordial relations with AP also, no headway was made as it lacked support from the TDP government under N Chandrababu Naidu, who also refused to part with the buildings in the TS Secretariat even three years after he shifted base to Amaravati.
Rao promptly responded to the request from AP seeking the services of Inspector General (West Zone) M Stephen Ravindra, who opted for inter-State cadre deputation recently. Ravindra will be taking over as the intelligence chief in AP soon. Similarly, AP which has been fighting for Special Category Status for long can depend on the support of TRS MPs in Delhi.
The Chief Minister has always insisted on the ‘live and let live’ policy, and his positive approach has now virtually ensured that friendly relations prevail with all the four bordering States, Chhattisgarh included.