No unconditional handover of Krishna projects, says Telangana Assembly resolution

The Telangana Assembly on Monday passed a resolution that the state will not hand over control of common projects on Krishna River to the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) unless the conditions put forth by the state are fulfilled.

Hyderabad: The Telangana Assembly on Monday passed a resolution that the state will not hand over control of common projects on Krishna River to the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) unless the conditions put forth by the state are fulfilled.

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The resolution was passed unanimously after Irrigation Minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy made a powerpoint presentation on Krishna projects, followed by a marathon debate which saw ruling Congress and main opposition Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) accusing each other of hurting the state’s interests.

The house also resolved to request the Centre to withdraw the CRPF and hand over control of the project to Telangana government, reads the resolution.

The resolution has laid down conditions for handing over the projects.

It made it clear that water sharing between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana shall be on the basis of catchment area, drought-prone area, basin population, and cultivable area.

In-basin needs shall be met first on priority as per the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal I (KWDT-I). Srisailam project was sanctioned as a hydro-electric project by Planning Commission in 1962 for supplying 264 TMC to Nagarjunasagar project.

Accordingly, the MDDL (minimum drawdown level) of Srisailam shall be plus 830 ft as per KWDT-I Award. Outside basin diversions from Srisailam reservoir shall be limited to 34 TMC (15 TMC for Chennai water supply and 19 TMC for SRBC) which were approved by CWC, reads the resolution.

The use towards drinking water shall be reckoned as 20 per cent of drawal towards consumptive use as stipulated by KWDT-I. States shall be permitted to carry over water to the next year as per KWDT-I and shall not be accounted as use in the next year account.

Unauthorised construction of projects/expansions/new components diverting Krishna water to outside basin shall not be permitted strictly unless approved by the Central Water Commission/Ministry of Water Resources.

Uttam Kumar Reddy explained the historical injustice meted out to Telangana and the current situation. The historical context, legislative acts, and ad-hoc agreements shaped the water disputes between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, he said.

The minister alleged that timely inactions, deliberate negligence resulted in non-enhancement the water share of Telangana above 299 TMC in Krishna basin. Delayed actions, deliberate negligence and inordinate delay in completing ongoing projects in Krishna basin, thereby, missed the opportunity to make a claim before the Tribunal and other forums, he said.

Telangana’s proposal for project handover with conditions reflects the intricacies of water management. The complex nature of the issues necessitates continued dialogue, legal adjudication, and a collaborative approach for a sustainable resolution, the minister said.

He noted that river Krishna is the lifeline of the regions of southern Telangana both for Irrigation and drinking water purposes.

After the formation of the state of Andhra Pradesh through the Bachawat Tribunal Award, 811 TMC of water was allocated to the state of Andhra Pradesh. Successive governments have created substantial Irrigation potential through construction of major projects. After the formation of new state of Telangana, sufficient attention was not given to the requirements of the Krishna Basin and the then government agreed to the grossly unfair ratio of water sharing between the two states which is 299 TMC to Telangana and 512 TMC to Andhra Pradesh.

Through the AP Reorganisation Act 2014, the KRMB was created for regulating the water sharing between the two states. The then government also proposed to hand over the common projects i.e. Srisailam Dam and Nagarjunasagar Dam to the control of the KRMB, which is detrimental to the interests of Telangana.

The KRMB jurisdiction to that effect has also been notified by the Centre, which was not objected to by the previous government, Uttam Kumar Reddy said while slamming BRS He mentioned that on the night of November 29, 2023, a day before Assembly elections in Telangana, the Andhra Pradesh government, by sending armed police, forcibly took over the control of the right side of Nagarjunasagar Dam which was till then under the control of Telangana.

The Central government stepped in and sent the CRPF to remove the Andhra Pradesh Police.

The minister alleged that the BRS, during its 10-year rule, not only failed to protect the state’s interests but also allowed the neighbouring state to go ahead with illegal projects.

He came down heavily on then Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao saying he helped Andhra Pradesh in going ahead with Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme which will take away daily 8 TMC water. He also played a clip from Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s speech delivered in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly in which he thanked KCR for his cooperation.

He alleged that after failing to protect the state’s interests, BRS was now running false propaganda against the Congress government.

Recalling that Telangana state was created as it was not getting its due share of water in the combined state, he alleged that the BRS did more injustice to Telangana.

“The previous government permanently damaged the state’s interests,” he said.

Stating that Telangana dominates in terms of catchment, basin population and on other parameters, he claimed that Telangana is eligible for 70 per cent of water and this should have been negotiated on priority.

BRS leader and former minister T. Harish Rao launched a counterattack on Congress government. He said the government came forward to pass the resolution after the BRS decided to hold public meetings at Nalgonda to protest handing over of projects to the KRMB. He claimed that it is the victory of the BRS and people of Telangana.

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