HYDERABAD: Former irrigation minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah of Congress said the Centre’s move was a blow to chief ministers of both the states.
“This is a failure on the part of KCR and Jagan Mohan Reddy. Interests of people of the two states have been mortgaged by them. They tried to instigate ‘water sentiments’ of the people of the two Telugu states and emerge as champions for their own political gains,” Lakshmaiah told TOI.
Lakshmaiah, who served as irrigation minister between 2004 and 2011 in the combined AP state, said: There was no big dispute in river water sharing between the two states in the last six-and-half years, it is only from the past few months that both the CMs have engineered escalation of water sentiments among the people. “Water is a state subject. But neither of the CMs showed any intention of solving the river water dispute at their level resulting in the intervention of the Centre.”
Though the Centre’s notification on the two rivers is a much bigger loss for Telangana as it now needs to take permission within six months for its prestigious Kaleshwaram, Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigation and Sitarama projects, AP too cannot go ahead with the works on expansion of Pothireddypadu head regulator, Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme, diversion of water from Sangameshwar or Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme, Lakshmaiah said.
When political interests of the two CMs became paramount compared to people and state’s interests, the Centre had intervened to take control of the rivers and projects on it, he said. “It takes a very long time for a single issue to be settled when two states take it to the Centre. Imagine the fate of Telangana and AP now. There are several major, medium and small irrigation projects and canal works to be taken up. The states have to follow the Centre’s diktat now. Also, the river management board’s decision would be final in case of any dispute over river waters between the two states,” he said.
The ex-minister also found fault with KCR for utilising the Krishna river water for hydel power generation at a wrong time.
About 12 TMC of water went into the sea and another 30 TMC has been stored in Pulichintala as Telangana released water from Srisailam to Nagarjuna Sagar to Pulichintala to produce hydel power. The hydel power should be produced when there is surplus water or when farmers need the water for irrigation, he added.


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