Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Andhra PradeshWater row: Jagan writes contrasting letters to Union Ministers, hits self-goal

Water row: Jagan writes contrasting letters to Union Ministers, hits self-goal

Published: 5th Jul 2021 11:22 pm

Hyderabad: In his eagerness to stall hydel power generation from the Srisailam project by the Telangana government and emerge as the saviour of Andhra Pradesh among people by taking up the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy shot letters to the Centre, but in his haste, admitted to the fact that the RLIS is being built illegally.

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Very interestingly, his letters to Union Ministers Gajendra Singh Shekawath and Prakash Javadekar, seek the Centre’s intervention to get environmental clearances in utter violation of established laws and practices.

In his letters to the Union Ministers, Jagan made contradictory remarks over the RLIS. Writing to the Jal Shakti Minister, he claimed that the RLIS and the Pothireddypadu head regulator, along with other existing projects such as Srisailam Right Bank Canal (SRBC), KC Canal, Telugu Ganga Project in Andhra Pradesh, are legitimate schemes and have all approvals besides water allocation by Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-I.

On the contrary, he sought the intervention of the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change to direct the Experts Appraisal Committee (EAC) for River Valley Projects to issue environmental clearances. Thus, he was seeking the Union Environment Ministry to influence an independent body like EAC to yield and provide an early environmental clearance for the construction of the RLIS.

Further, Jagan complained that Telangana is not allowing water levels to be built up in the Srisailam reservoir and has utilised 19 tmc of the 26 tmc flowed in from June 1 for power generation by drawing water at 796 feet itself. He claimed that Telangana is generating power at below 834 feet, which is the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) for power generation.

While it may be mentioned that the MDDL was fixed during the united Andhra Pradesh regime without any concern for the interests of the Telangana region, the Telangana government after the State formation has been insisting on a fresh study to revise and fix the MDDL for which the AP government is not extending any cooperation.

Interestingly, the AP Chief Minister, who objected to drawing water for power generation at the said MDDL of 834 feet, admitted that his government is constructing the RLIS to draw water from the Srisailam reservoir through Pothireddypadu Head Regulator at 800 feet itself. He claimed that Andhra Pradesh is left with no other option but to go for the RLIS to lift 3 tmc per day to supplement the existing projects.

Jagan alleged that Telangana is drawing water for generating power without raising any indent by the competent authorities i.e. Superintending Engineer, Irrigation Department, Andhra Pradesh, and also without taking any release orders from the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).

It may be recalled that though the AP government had recently raised its objections for the power generation, the KRMB had only ‘requested the Telangana government’ not to draw water except in cases of ‘power exigency’. This means Telangana can utilise the water in case of power exigency.

The Telangana government has already made it clear that it must go for power generation to operate several lift irrigation schemes and that it became a necessity amid increased irrigation activity. Several pumps at Kaleshwaram, Bhima, Koil Sagar and Nettempadu projects among others are already lifting the water to upland areas. Pumps at Devadula and other projects too are scheduled to start in a few days.

Further, the AP Chief Minister accused the KRMB of being biased towards Telangana by ignoring AP’s requests to visit unauthorised projects of Telangana before visiting the RLIS. Thus, he had not only claimed that the projects like Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme, which received approvals during the regime of the then AP Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, as illegal but also admitted that the RLIS has a construction site.

Even as he started casting aspersions against the KRMB, he wanted the Union government to immediately notify the board’s jurisdiction and keep all the offtakes, including water for irrigation, power and drinking water, on common reservoirs under the control of the board with the CISF security for effective operation and maintenance.


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