Jagan holds crucial high-level meeting on water-sharing dispute

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is holding a crucial high-level meeting to discuss the water sharing dispute with the Telangana government. The meeting comes in the wake of the letter Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s comments against the Andhra Pradesh government as well Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat recent letter directing both the governments not to proceed with the construction of new projects without clearances from the Central Water Commission.

Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy will be discussing with the top officials and ministers concerned about the future course of action. On Wednesday, Jagan unleashed a direct attack against the water ministry by writing a five-page letter to Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. In a retort to Shekhawat’s missive, Jagan stated that the Andhra Pradesh government did not take up any new project. He emphasised that the Ralayseema Lift Irrigation Scheme was not a new project, but only a better means to draw the allocated share of water as per the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-I (KWDT-I) award. Jagan also noted that the Krishna river project is not a new one. “The project is as per the agreement the Andhra Pradesh government had entered into with the Telangana government in 2015,” Jagan pointed out.

“Rayalseema Lift Irrigation Scheme would only be supplementing the existing projects through the same existing canal system without adding any additional ayacut or canal or storage only to ensure our legitimate share of water. It therefore should not be called new projects,” Jagan wrote.

He also stated that the Andhra Pradesh government is merely building its capacity to utilise its rightful share of water allotted by the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) on its own territory. “What we are using is only from the share allocated to the State as determined by Krishna River Management Board (KRMB),” Jagan contended. He said taking up of new projects are violative of the AP Reorganisation Act, but Andhra Pradesh had not violated the Act in any which way.

“As per the AP Reorganisation Act, we need to take necessary approvals and clearances for new projects from the river management boards. The Andhra Pradesh government too filed a complaint that the Telangana government was going ahead with certain new projects on river Krishna in violation of the Reorganisation Act, 2014. These projects include the Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme and Dindi Lift Irrigation Scheme. We have filed a petition in the Supreme Court with an appeal to direct the Telangana government to halt the two projects. The Supreme Court in 2016 ordered the central government to direct the Apex Council to resolve the dispute,” Jagan pointed out.

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