The two Telugu States – Telangana and Andhra Pradesh – have decided to take steps to effectively harness river water to cater to the needs of people.
A meeting of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his AP counterpart Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy resolved to set aside differences relating to river water sharing that persisted for years and take a relook at the situation for optimum utilisation of the available water in the interest of people of the two States.
As expected, Mr. Rao and Mr. Reddy focussed on the river water sharing during the first two hours of the meeting that started at 11 am on Friday. The two Chief Ministers averred that the focus henceforth would be on joint effort to ensure that the two States were benefited.
The deliberations focused on diversion of Godavari water to the Srisailam project as it was considered a lasting solution for mitigating the water woes of Rayalaseema districts of AP and Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar districts of Telangana. Accordingly, officials were directed to prepare strategy and roadmap for the purpose. The decision assumes significance in view of the declining water availability in the Krishna river.
‘Change in relations’
Speaking at the first official meeting between the two Chief Ministers after more than three years, Mr. Rao said there had been a qualitative change in the relations between the two States since the results of the recent Assembly elections were announced. The Telangana government was committed to adopting a proactive approach and was not in favour of continuing the long-pending disputes.
“People trusted the TRS and the YSR Congress and voted them to power. The two governments will together focus on resolving the issues amicably and strengthen the relationship between the two States,” he said, recalling the presence of Chief Ministers of three States at the inauguration of the Kaleshwaram project, which reflected the coordination among the riparian States.
Mr. Reddy stressed the need for working out plans to ensure water supply to all sections, including farmers and industrialists, in a cost-effective manner. The focus was, therefore, on harnessing the Godavari water as it was a lasting solution for addressing the problems faced by the two States on account of decline in availability of Krishna water.
Mr. Rao made a PowerPoint presentation on the availability of water in the Krishna and Godavari rivers and the ways in which the water could be put to optimum utilisation. The two rivers together provided 4,000 tmcft of water and efforts should be made for effective utilisation of the significant amount of water available. The focus should be on harnessing 3,000 tmcft of water that was going waste into the sea every year. The Telangana Chief Minister was particular that taking recourse to tribunals and courts would not yield any result and the two governments should instead focus on joining forces in the interest of people.
Recalling that the Central government had mooted interlinking of rivers, he said the two States should, before taking a stand on the issue, concentrate on ensuring that their needs were catered to.