Hyderabad: The Telangana State government has requested the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) chairman, J Chandrashekhar Iyer to take immediate action to restrain Andhra Pradesh from carrying out works on Rayalaseema Pumping System and upgradation of Pothireddypadu Head Regulator, Banakacharla Complex to draw 80,000 cusecs from the foreshore of Srisailam reservoir and other related works.
Special Chief Secretary to Government (Irrigation and CAD Department) Dr Rajat Kumar, in a letter to Iyer, said these works were progressing at a brisk pace in violation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order and urged him to prevent illegal diversion of Krishna River waters.
“As you are aware, the NGT had directed the AP government not to go ahead with the execution of the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) without obtaining prior environmental clearance,” he said.
The NGT order dated February 24, 2021, directed that “the KRMB, on the basis of the complaint made by the Telangana Government in this regard, are at liberty to go into the question and if it is found that there is any violation of this tribunal in proceeding with the matter on the basis of the investigation conducted by them independently, they are at liberty to take appropriate action against the fourth” respondent (AP) in accordance with law apart from the applicant to approach this tribunal at that stage. The board is directed to take appropriate decisions in the application at the earliest.”
Further, the AP Chief Secretary submitted before the NGT that they were only doing the preparatory work for the Detailed Project Report and not the main work. It is pertinent to state that the tribunal held that “we are now believing the assertions made by the Chief Secretary that they are only doing the preliminary investigation for the purpose of preparing DPR.” In view of the same, it directed the board to send a fact-finding committee to ascertain the facts and take appropriate action against the State in case it was found that there was any violation of its orders by AP.
In this connection, the Engineer-in-Chief (General), Telangana had requested the board to act on the orders of NGT at the earliest and also to send a fact-finding committee to the project site to ascertain the status on the above subject and to take appropriate action. “We are constrained to note that the board has failed to ensure that the NGT orders are followed, as it is reliably learnt that AP is proceeding briskly with the construction of above work in utter violation of tribunal. Pictures that are attached with the letter depict the violation of NGT orders,” Rajat Kumar said in his letter.
It is evident from the pictures attached that by no stretch of imagination can the work going on at the site be said to be preliminary work required for the preparation of DPR. “We are further constrained to note that there has been no action by the board is sending a fact-finding committee as directed by NGT,” Rajat Kumar said.
The Council of Ministers of Telangana that met on June 19, 2021, expressed its strong displeasure over the illegal activities of the AP government in executing works of the RLIS in complete violation of the orders issued by authorities, to divert more than 80,000 cusecs of Krishna waters from Srisailam Reservoir to outside basin, depriving water to fluoride affected and acute drought-prone areas within Krishna basin of Telangana including Hyderabad drinking water supply.
As per Section-85(8)(d) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisiation Act, 2014, it is the responsibility of the board to restrain AP from proceeding with the illegal construction of RLIS works and enhancement of Srisailam Right Main Canal and other related works, he said.
In line with the same, the Ministry of Jalashakthi has already directed the AP government not to proceed with the project without submitting the DPR before the board and getting their appraisal done. “I once again request you take immediate and effective steps to stop this illegal activity of the AP government forthwith, and protect the genuine and legitimate claims of the people of Telangana on Krishna waters,” Rajat Kumar said.
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