Will Jagan be firm on water sharing?
The big question doing rounds in the two Telugu states is the proposed meeting of the Apex Council on sharing of Krishna and Godavari river water between the two States. The dispute is continuing ever since bifurcation in 2014. Though the share of the undivided Andhra Pradesh is clear, the bifurcation had caused some disturbances in sharing the same in proportion.
The residuary Andhra Pradesh had now become the lower riparian state with Telangana becoming the third upper riparian state after Maharastra and Karnataka. Like the two other states, the Telangana too started its plans for excess utilisation of the river waters with proposals of new projects that have no permission from the river tribunals.
The issue could not be sorted out in the last five years as the chief ministers of the two states were at loggerheads, though on political issues. As the present chief ministers have healthy relations, it is felt that the proposed meeting of the Apex Council headed by Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat would sort out the issues.
The Telangana had already prepared its statement to be presented at the meeting on October 6 and its chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had held two rounds of meetings with the irrigation officials. It is now the turn of the AP chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy to have a look at the issue and gear up his officials to ask for the State’s due share in the two rivers.
The Telangana is opposed to the lift irrigation schemes proposed by the AP government in Rayalaseema and Chandrasekhar Rao wants to seek total control over the Srisailam reservoir so as to regulate the release of water to AP. Though there are joint committees of officials, the TS wants to take over Srisailam to check AP projects, alleging that the committees have failed to monitor the release of water.
On its part, the AP is opposed to the Kaleswaram lift and other lift schemes in Telangana which have no permission from the Central Water Commission or the river tribunals. While claiming to share the permitted quantity of water only for all its new projects too, the AP says that it would not draw excess water. The AP, being the lower riparian state, is eying at the flood water, but the TS accuses the AP of eying at the stabilised water.
It is to be seen how well Jaganmohan Reddy and his team present their argument and counter the Telangana at the Apex Council meeting. At the same time it is to be seen how Chandrasekhar Rao would justify Telangana’s projects.