Telangana to fight Andhra Pradesh over water, again!
While the world is fighting over survival due to the ongoing pandemic conditions, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are busy muscling it over water.
Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has warned Andhra Pradesh government against building a lift irrigation project to divert water from the Srisailam dam to Rayalaseema. The former has threatened with legal action.
Sharing of the waters of the Krishna river has been a long standing debate between the two states. The second biggest river in peninsular India, it stretches all the way from Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, North Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh ending its way into Bay of Bengal.
Since the 1960s, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra had been at logger heads over the rights to the water of the river. Despite many tribunal rulings and after the formation of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh continues to contest the rulings repeatedly.
The Srisailam project is shared by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. According to trusted sources, Andhra Pradesh government is now planning to undertake a new project without consulting the apex committee responsible for the Srisailam dam.
Chief Minister of Telangana K. Chandrashekar Rao has now asked his government officials to approach the tribunal for assistance and help in this matter stating that AP government’s move is ‘violates the rights of Telangana and is against the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.’
In 1973, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal had decided that farmers from the Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts would draw water in a ratio of 60:40. Both parties, however, accuse one another of trying to prevent water from reaching the other side.
Later, after the formation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, Mahabubnagar became the part of the former. Since then, it has desired that the tribunal should treat it as a separate entity and accordingly draw up a fresh water-sharing agreement.
“We do not want to fight, but farmers of Kurnool are blocking the flow of water or diverting it to their fields. Unless our share of Tungabhadra water (distributor of Krishna river) is released from Andhra’s side of the river, our crops will dry up,” said Gopal Reddy, a farmer of Gadwal in Mahbubnagar district of Telangana. Farmers from Andhra levy similar accusations.
The accusations have only led to more problems for farmers on both sides and Andhra Pradesh has continued to contest the various tribunals to secure access to water for its farmers.