Hyderabad: Indicating a toughening stand against Andhra Pradesh which has been “making baseless allegations” on Telangana with regard to sharing of river water, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Monday asked officials to effectively counter the sibling State’s arguments by submitting complete information at the ensuing Apex Council meeting.
The Chief Minister held a meeting with the Irrigation Department officials to discuss the stand to be adopted at the Apex Council meeting on the issue of sharing of river water, here on Monday. The marathon meeting took stock of the situation and examined in detail the arguments of Andhra Pradesh.
Chandrashekhar Rao told the meeting that the time has come for Telangana to give a strong reply to both Andhra Pradesh and the Union Government on the issue of water sharing. “It is deplorable that Andhra Pradesh is making false accusations on Telangana projects. I have offered a friendly hand to AP by inviting the Chief Minister and his officials for a lunch and made it amply clear that Telangana was not for “basins or bheshajams” (ego clashes). I have proposed that being neighbours having natural borders, we must shun differences to provide assured irrigation to our farmers,” the Chief Minister recalled. He added that he had also advised the sibling State to ensure that the water that was going waste into the sea could be effectively utilized by implementing an action plan.
“But Andhra Pradesh is deliberately picking a fight and we will give a strong reply at the Apex Council to counter the baseless arguments once for all,” the Chief Minister said. He also found fault with the attitude of the Centre with regard to Telangana projects. “We are constructing projects as per the allocated water share. It is highly deplorable to object to projects which have approved allocations, received all permissions and huge amounts of money being spent even before the State was formed,” he pointed out.
He argued that the Centre has been raising objections with regard to release of water from Srisailam to Nagarjuna Sagar without considering the facts. “In fact Nagarjuna Sagar has to be filled first and Srisailam is not a project meant for irrigation, but for generation of hydroelectric power,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that as a State, Telangana enjoyed certain rights and based on that only it had taken up construction of irrigation projects. “But the Union government should not behave in a manner detrimental to the interests of a State such as Telangana. We will ensure that the whole country will understand the dubious attitude of the Centre,” the Chief Minister asserted.
Elaborating on the issue, he said that all the projects that Telangana has been constructing were approved by the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the government had so far spent Rs 23,000 crore and acquired 31,500 acres for construction of these projects. “Now it is absurd to say that these are new projects. These are the projects, which were left unattended by the the governments in power during the unified Andhra Pradesh. On the top of it they proposed higher ayacut with less allocation of water, which will not be sufficient to fulfill the irrigation needs of Telangana,” he said.
He pointed out that projects during erstwhile AP were not designed to meet the needs of the Telangana region, and hence the TS government had taken up redesigning of the projects based on the current needs of the new State. “The Telanagana movement is in fact aimed at achieving the region’s legitimate rights over river water, because of the gross injustice meted out to Telangana in the matter of construction of projects and sharing of water,” he said.
He informed that Pranahitha-Chevella was redesigned as Kaleshwaram, Kantanapalli as Sammakka Sagar, Rajiv Sagar-Indira Sagar as Sitarama Project, Dummugudem as Sitamma Sagar. He said that Penganga projects received Tribunals’ approvals and agreements were made way back in 1975. He directed the officers to present all details, related to government orders, and the extent of land acquired to the Apex Council. He recalled that AP has raised objection about Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigation project. “When Telanagana countered it with the mention of Muchchumarri project undertaken by that State it agreed to continue both the projects,” he said.
Chief Minister also said that Telangana was always discriminated in the field of irrigation during combined rule. Nagarjuna Sagar was built 17 km below the proposed site of Yeleswaram resulting in huge loss to Telangana. The region lost upper Krishna, Tungabhadra and Bhima projects due to merger with AP. The Bachawat Tribunal has also said that injustice was meted out to Telangana in water sharing. “Bachawat Tribunal allocated water to Telangana realising that the erstwhile AP State has not made allocations commensurate to the needs of the region,” he said.
He said that Telangana could complete projects such as Jurala, Nettempadu, Kalwakurthy, Bhima, Koilsagar which were taken up during combined State, only after formation of Telangana. He attributed the devastation caused by the AP legislators who have blasted the RDS drain for the construction of Tummila Lift by spending a huge amount of money. “This way Telangana has been discriminated at every stage. So we have started constructing the projects as per the allocations only. In fact Telangana requires more water. We must get another 1000 TMC in the surplus water of Godavari. In fact the catchment of Godavari is more in Telanagana. Hence Telangana must demand for 1000 TMC of surplus Godavari water from the 2000 TMC of water that otherwise would go waste into the Sea,” Chief Minister said.
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