Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has come in for wholesome praise on the floor of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly for his generous approach towards sharing of river waters between the two Telugu States. This augurs well for resolution of the pending inter-State issues to the benefit of the people of both the States. By proposing to jointly explore the options for optimum utilisation of river water resources so that every inch of land in the two States can be irrigated, Rao made a refreshing departure from the past and laid down a new template for a harmonious relationship. It is heartening that AP Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy put it on record on the floor of the Assembly his appreciation for Rao’s initiative on sharing of Godavari water. Telangana’s proposal to link Godavari with Krishna basin to fill the Srisailam reservoir got wide appreciation from the lawmakers of the neighbouring State. It is this spirit of cordiality and brotherhood that must guide the destiny of the two States. The fact that nearly 3,000 tmc of Godavari water goes waste into the sea every year must serve as a call for action for the two States to draw up plans to harness the waters for the benefit of the people. Running around courts and tribunals in the fight over water share will not help matters. Future generations will not forgive us for squandering away the opportunity to harness water resources going waste into the sea.
In India, experience shows that inter-State river water disputes often linger on for decades, invariably marked by bitterness and rancour. They are periodically used to score political brownie points, ignoring the interests of the people on either side of the divide. Given this reality, the Telugu States have set an example for the rest of the country on resolution of inter-State water disputes and demonstrated that maturity and foresight of political leadership can find solutions to what might seem intractable problems. A joint strategy is being formulated to divert water from Godavari to the Srisailam reservoir across Krishna to provide irrigation and drinking water facility to some of the most backward areas of both the States. This is a commendable initiative and needs to be followed up with concrete action plans. It is time to offload the baggage of a bitter past and work shoulder-to-shoulder for the prosperity of the people in the two States. Be it the historic agreements with Maharashtra to end the decades-old dispute over irrigation projects or extending the hand of friendship to Andhra Pradesh for resolution of pending issues in a give-and-take approach, Telangana has shown enormous maturity and set a new benchmark in harmonious neighbourly relations.