Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao made it clear that Telangana will only use Krishna River waters from the allocations lawfully made to the State for meeting irrigation needs and also hydropower generation. He stated that none can object to this and the Telangana government would make its case before tribunals, boards like Krishna River Management Board (KRMB), courts and also other fora.
He said that Telangana had suffered for irrigation water for several decades in united Andhra Pradesh and such a situation would not be allowed under any circumstances after the State formation. He expressed anger over delay in allocation of Telangana’s share in Krishna River waters even 17 years after the constitution of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal. He asserted that he would fight with the Centre if necessary for the Telangana’s rightful share in Krishna River water.
Speaking at the high-level meeting on Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme and other illegal projects by Andhra Pradesh, lifting water into the irrigation projects and hydel power generation in Telangana State here on Saturday, Chandrashekhar Rao said unlike Andhra Pradesh where water can be diverted easily, Telangana must irrigate its lands by pumping water using lift irrigation schemes. He stated that while about 30 lakh borewells are operated in the State for irrigation water, about 40 per cent of total power consumption was done for irrigation purposes. “Considering the difficult terrain, Telangana has no option but lift water to meet its needs for both irrigation and drinking water,” he pointed out.
The Chief Minister said Telangana was geographically located above sea level and there was no way to utilise water for irrigation purposes by gravity, despite different rivers flowing in the State. He stated that the State has no option but lift water to meet its needs.
“Due to neglect of the rulers of undivided Andhra Pradesh for several decades, lands in Telangana have turned barren and farmers in Telangana were wronged. Hence, the construction of irrigation projects in the new State of Telangana has become a priority for the State government which completed lift irrigation schemes like Kaleshwaram, to meet the irrigation needs of Telangana,” he said.
Rao stated that Telangana has become the Rice Bowl of India only through lifting river water to irrigate its lands and the government will construct more such lift irrigation schemes on both Krishna and Godavari rivers in near future. He said the government can supply water for both the crops by operating the hydel power projects to their full capacity in order to lift the water from the lift irrigation schemes.
“In addition to using the river waters constitutionally allotted to Telangana by various tribunals for irrigation, we will also use the water allocated for hydropower generation to overcome the inevitability of lifting water for irrigation. The State Cabinet has also decided the same and the State government will not consider anyone’s views against this. We will fight with anyone and to any extent for the agricultural needs of Telangana and the welfare of its farmers,” he asserted.
However, the Chief Minister reiterated that the Telangana State would fully co-operate with its neighbouring States to exercise their rightful share of the river waters, but the people of Telangana will not remain silent to the use of unallocated assured waters. He recalled that the then Chief Minister YS Rajashekhar Reddy had repeatedly announced inside and outside the Assembly that only flood waters would be used for Pothireddypadu and conveyed the same to the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal.
“But today, they violated these assurances and the people of Telangana will not tolerate the denial of water rights in the name of Pothireddypadu,” he said.
Chandrashekhar Rao said it was not proper for anyone to ignore the basic natural justice that it is only after needs of River Water Basin are fulfilled, out of Basin needs should be addressed. He said the demand for hydropower generation has increased in the wake of lift irrigation projects undertaken by Telangana State and made it clear that the government will operate lift irrigation schemes to irrigate the lands of Telangana.
Further, he pointed out that the Telangana State government had held discussions with the neighbouring Maharashtra State and constructed the Kaleshwaram project without causing any problem to Maharashtra government. In similar way, a friendly hand was extended to the Andhra Pradesh for resolving issues amicably, but the latter turned a deaf ear, which was unfortunate, he added.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, Principal Secretary for Irrigation Rajat Kumar, CMO secretary Smita Sabharwal, Engineer-in-Chief Muralidhar Rao, CM OSD Sridhar Rao Deshpande, TSTransco and TSGenco chairman and managing director D Prabhakar Rao, TSGenco Director (Hydel) Venkatrajam and Additional Advocate General Ramachandra Rao, and senior officials of irrigation department attended the meeting.
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