Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Wary Centre moves to resolve Krishna row

- Srinivasa Rao Apparasu


HYDERABAD: In the wake of the confrontat­ion between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over sharing of Cauvery water, which took an unpreceden­ted violent turn, the Centre has decided to mediate a dialogue between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to resolve the dispute over sharing of Krishna river.

Union minister for water resources Uma Bharati has called a meeting of the Apex Council on Water Disputes on September 21 in New Delhi to find a solution to the water problem between the two Telugu states.

The council, headed by Bharati, with Telangana chief minister K Chandrasek­har Rao and his Andhra Pradesh counterpar­t N Chandrabab­u Naidu as members, has been constitute­d as part of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisa­tion Act, 2014. However, the council has never met in the last two years.

The meeting assumes significan­ce in the wake of the ongoing dispute over constructi­on of two lift irrigation schemes — Palamuru-Ranga Reddy and Dindi —by the Telangana government on Krishna river, which Andhra Pradesh has been opposing on the ground that they would reduce the inflows into the downstream of the river and affect cropping in Krishna delta.

The Telangana government, however, has been arguing that the Andhra government has constructe­d Pattiseema project on Godavari river to divert over 80,000 million cubic feet of water to Krishna basin.

According to the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal award, upper riparian states have a share in the water diverted from Godavari to Krishna basin. As such, it has every right to construct lift irrigation schemes on Krishna river.

The meeting is being convened on the directions of the Supreme Court, which heard a batch of petitions filed by Andhra farmers against the two projects in Telangana. The Supreme Court said it would entertain the petitions only if the apex council failed to arrive at a consensus.

Interestin­gly, unlike in the case of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, both Andhra and Telangana chief ministers have agreed to resolve the dispute through negotiatio­ns. “We are always open for negotiatio­ns to sort out any difference­s,” a senior official of the Telangana irrigation department said.

Meanwhile, the water resources ministry set up a five-member body headed by irrigation expert and former Central Water Commission chairman AD Mohile to decide the powers of the Krishna River Management Board and the guidelines for management of the river water.

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