Special Chief Secretary Rajat Kumar sought the intervention of Ministry of Jal Shakti Secretary Pankaj Kumar to address the State's concerns in right earnest.
Hyderabad: Expressing concern over Polavaram project backwater effect on Telangana, Irrigation and Command Area Development Special Chief Secretary Rajat Kumar sought the intervention of Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) Secretary Pankaj Kumar to address the State’s concerns in right earnest.
He also requested to arrange protection works as necessary after a fresh backwater study by a neutral agency duly involving all stakeholders. A committee of a technical team comprising of Chief Engineers from all riparian States and also from Central Water Commission (CWC) and National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) may be constituted in this regard, he said.
“There is every need for transparency in sharing the data and formulating a sound technical solution acceptable to all,” he said in a letter to Pankaj Kumar.
According to Rajat Kumar, the major project was progressing without addressing the critical concerns raised by Telangana before various fora. The State was at the receiving end due to submergence for about 30 km stretch upstream from Telangana and AP on either side of the main Godavari River to be caused by the Polavaram backwaters upon completion and storing of the water in the project.
The Supreme Court too, in its order dated September 6, 2022, on various suits filed against the Polavaram project, had suggested to the MoJS for discussion with all stakeholders so that the project could move forward and the concerns be addressed.
As a meeting scheduled on September 14 was deferred, Rajat Kumar brought various aspects of the project to the notice of the MoJS Secretary. Inadequacy of Polavaram spillway design, the need to study backwater for probable maximum flood, river cross sections, drainage congestion and stagnation of local streams due to backwater were brought to the Secretary’s notice, apart from highlighting the problems being faced by the people due to the recent floods.
Referring to protective measures, he said the technical studies carried by AP and the CWC so far had no mention about the area to be affected or on appropriate protective embankments in the Telangana territory.
Telangana had no independent entity and opportunity till its formation in 2014 for seeking the protection measures against the backwater effects, while Odisha and the then State of Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh) had been vociferous in exerting the rights and concerns before all forums including the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT). As a result, the protection works were envisaged only in Odisha and the then Madhya Pradesh.
As part of its responsibility, the Supreme Court has reacted to concerns of the States at the right juncture. “Accordingly, we request for your intervention for an immediate positive response in addressing our State’s concerns,” he said.