AP, Telangana water wars: Security beefed up at Nagarjuna Sagar dam

Hyderabad: A day after Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy condemned the Telangana government for drawing water from Krishna basin reservoirs for a project, the latter posted about 300 police personnel under the Achampet police station limits, near the Pulichintala project in wake of dispute between AP and Telangana over withdrawal of water for hydel power generation.

On Thursday, the Telangana police beefed up security at the Nagarjuna Sagar project area in the backdrop of the rising issues between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over sharing water from the Krishna river. Nalgonda Superintendent of Police (SP) and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) AV Ranganath inspected the security arrangements. A report from the The Hindu also said that besides Telangana Special Protection Force, around 100 civil police joined the bandobast duty.

Earlier, Telangana energy minister G. Jagadish Reddy also demanded the AP government to stop the construction of its Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation scheme and the Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme right canal. He argued that it was against the water sharing agreement between the two states and violated the interests Telangana. Aside from him, state R&B minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy also landed in controversy for calling people Andhra Pradesh demons from “Lanka”.

The R&B minister claimed that former AP chief minister (late) YS Rajasekhara Reddy had drawn water from Pothireddypadu illegally and now his son and current chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had gone a step ahead by taking up Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) to draw water “unlawfully”.

Meanwhile, the AP cabinet chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy came down heavily on Telangana a day earlierfor drawing water from the Krishna basin reservoir for hydel power projects and decided to write letters to the Prime Minister and Jal Shakti Minister on the same. Speaking to media at secretariat after the cabinet meeting, AP water resources minister P Anil Kumar Yadav asserted that his government has been constructing irrigation projects as per the regulations and using the allocated water to the state.

The minister said full capacity of 44,000 cusecs of water from Pothireddypadu can be drawn only if water level reaches 881 feet in Srisailam and added that water level should reach 854 ft at least to draw 5,000-6,000 cusecs of Water. He said Telangana can draw 6 TMC of water at 800 ft level and that Andhra Pradesh has been not able to draw Krishna flood water as water will be touching 881ft-885ft only for 15-20 days.

Yadav added that the AP state government would write a letter to the Krishna River Management Board on how Telangana is generating power illegally and request it to cut down wastage of water in 299 TMC of water allocated to them.

As per the temporary allocation made after the formation of Telangana State, out of 811 tmcft of Krishna water, Telangana was allotted 299 tmcft and Andhra 512 tmcft. The Telangana government, however, maintains that it should get at least 565 tmcft, with the balance going to Andhra Pradesh.

Earlier, Telangana had requested the Centre to refer the issue of redistribution of Krishna water by constituting a new tribunal or referring to Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II with new terms of reference. Even as issues in water sharing were pending with the Centre, reports of Andhra taking up work on RLIP sparked the latest row.

The Telangana Cabinet took serious note of the development as RLIP will allegedly divert Krishna water from Srisailam reservoir to outside the basin, and approached the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) to prevent Andhra Pradesh from proceeding with the illegal construction of the project and also send a fact finding committee to the project site.

Telangana special chief secretary (irrigation) Rajat Kumar even sent a letter to KRMB seeking steps to protect the genuine and legitimate claims of Telangana on Krishna waters.

“As per section 85(8)(d) of the AP Reorganisation Act of 2014, it is the responsibility of the KRMB to restrain AP from proceeding with RLIP works, enhancement of Srisailam right main canal and other works. The ministry of jal shakti has already directed AP not to proceed with the project without submitting the DPR before the KRMB and getting its approval,” Rajat Kumar said.

Following this, KRMB directed the AP water resources secretary to not go ahead with the work until the detailed project report is appraised by the authorities concerned. While Telangana officials alleged that work was in full swing, their Andhra counterparts denied this. They maintained that others work such as canal lining was being taken up.

Rajat Kumar also found fault with KRMB for not sending a fact-finding committee to the project site despite a direction by the NGT in February. Meanwhile Telangana Sarpanches’ Association member, Gavinola Srinivas, also filed a contempt petition in the NGT.

The Chennai bench of the NGT on June 25 cautioned the Andhra government that the chief secretary would be sent to jail if the government failed to follow the directives. The bench directed the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and the regional office of the Union ministry of environment, to submit a report on the current situation of the RLIP project site.