Handri-Neeva, Galeru-Nagari Projects in Rayalaseema May Go Without Water
Are the much-touted irrigation projects like the Handri-Neeva Sujala Srvanthi (HNSS) and Galeru-Nagari Srujala Sravanthi (GNSS), at various stages of getting finished soon, going to remain mere monuments for the future generations? Yes, say irrigation experts who see the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal verdict as a rude shock to the farming community.
At a time when farmers of drought-prone Rayalaseema districts and Nellore district are dreaming of getting the required irrigation waters from the much-awaited HNSS irrigation project, which completed its first phase of works and set to complete its second phase within a year, and through the reservoirs based on the Telugu Ganga project, the recent verdict of the Tribunal poured water on their dreams.
The Tribunal award dampened the hopes of the farmers taking up cultivation on the Krishna river in general and the budding hopes of the Rayalaseema districts in particular.
As both the irrigation projects--HNSS and GNSS--are being constructed for making use of the surplus waters from the Krishna river, the Tribunal’s award, which stripped the State of its right on the surplus waters, came as a curse on the very future of the projects. “No doubt, the verdict is an adverse one to the State in general and to Rayalaseema region in particular, as all the irrigation projects in the backward region will suffer a lot once the Tribunal award comes into effect,” said former adviser to the government on irrigation, M Sreerami Reddy.
According to him, the State government took up the HNSS and GNSS projects depending on the utilisation of the flood waters, expected to be available in the Srisailam dam during the flood season for 45 days.
While the GNSS is designed to draw 38 TMC water to irrigate 3.25 lakh acre land in Kadapa, Chittoor and Nellore districts, the HNSS is designed to irrigate 6.10 lakh acre land in Anantapur, Kurnool, Kadapa and Chittoor districts by drawing 40 TMC of water.
However, with the Tribunal distributing all the 448 tmc of surplus water (which is being used by the Andhra Pradesh alone all these years) to all the three Krishna riparian States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh at a ratio of 81, 177 and 190 TMCs respectively and those two States are now free to construct the required projects for stocking the excess water allocated.
Under such circumstances, where the upstream States are allowed to stock all their water share allocated by the Tribunal, one can not except that Andhra Pradesh gets its allocated water leave alone getting surplus waters and releasing the same for the HNSS and GNSS, he explained.
Describing the verdict, which approved the Karnataka government to go ahead with increasing the height of Alamatti dam apart from sharing the surplus water, as unfortunate one, he expected that the Supreme Court might ensure justice to the State.
While stating that there are no instances of the courts questioning the verdicts delivered by Tribunals so far, he, however, was quick to add that the chances of the State getting justice exist as the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal violated the the award granted by its previous Tribunal on the issue as the courts will not allow the Tribunals to bypass the guidelines framed by its predecessors. By, raising arguments on such issues, the State government could get respite from the Apex Court, he explained.
Stating that the situation of TGP is some how better than the HNSS and GNSS as the Tribunal allocated 29 TMC of water to it as the project is operational, he, however, said that getting the allocated water also will become a tough task in the coming days once the Tribunal comes into effect.
Apart from Rayalaseema projects, the reservoirs like Somasila and Kandaleru in Nellore district, constructed for stocking the water of the Pennar river will also bear the brunt of the Tribunal award in the future.
“Though, Somasila and Kandaleru dams are seen as projects on the Pennar river, we all know about the flow of water in the Pennar and Somasila is getting surplus water of the Krishna through TGP. Thus, we can expect the fate of such reservoirs with the implementation of the Tribunal award as TGP is limited to take its allocated share of water meant for the drinking water needs of Chennai city,” said Ch Chandrasekhar Reddy, an expert on irrigation water situation.