R Vidyasagar Rao was the most important person comprising the thinktank for irrigation matters in Telangana. Thanks to his engineering prowess and vast experience in the field of sustainable development of water resources, R Vidyasagar Rao, advisor to Telangana government on irrigation, enjoyed a special place in the hearts of the people of Telangana.
Born on November 14, 1939, Rao received a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Osmania University in 1960, and a Masters of Engineering degree in water resources from the University of Roorkee in 1979. He went on to receive a diploma in Water Resources Stems Engineering from Colorado State University in the US in 1983.
The tall but frail-looking irrigation expert never compromised when it came to safeguarding the interests of Telangana, more so on its fair share of river waters. He fought many a battles, making use of every possible forum to expose the raw deal meted out to Telangana in the sharing of water and the long deprivation that it was subjected to.
He had sufficiently demonstrated that even a soft spoken person like him can stir up and raise forces against the establishment to fight injustice.
If the fight for a separate Telangana was triggered by the injustice meted out to the region on three cardinal points — ‘Neelu, Nidhulu and Niyamakalau (water, funds and appointments) — Vidyasagar was singularly responsible for the fight on the water front.
He worked relentlessly to educate the people of Telangana on what they had been losing by taking things lying low. A strong believer of calling a spade a spade, he made it clear to YS Rajasekhar Reddy, the then Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, in a personal meeting, that his Jala Yagnam programme put the people of Telangana at the receiving end.
He opposed the excess withdrawal of water from the Potireddypadu head regulator at the cost of Telangana’s interests. He was instrumental for the re-engineering and redesigning that led to the improvement of the water storage capacity and yield of several major water projects taken up by the government.