VIJAYAWADA: Conceding that concerns over the government’s proposal to build a project in Telangana for the diversion of Godavari waters are genuine, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday said he was ready to consider suggestions made by the TDP and insisted that it’s incumbent upon the State to have cordial relations with the neighbouring State.
“If we think that it is against the interests of the State, why will we go ahead?” he asked. Laying bare the status of water availability in the State, he stressed the need for Telugu people to be united and stand by each other.
In a speech peppered with facts and figures, the Chief Minister sought to drive home the point that the State is staring at a water crisis. The State can get 480 tmc if four tmc of Godavari water is diverted to Srisailam, and Nagarjuna Sagar between June and October when the river swells.This will help farmers and people of four districts in Telangana and nine districts of Andhra, he explained, cautioning that decisions taken or not taken at this juncture would impact future generations.
The Chief Minister also had a word of praise for his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao. Describing him as a good person, he wondered why the Opposition was trying to distort everything and criticise. The Godavari has four tributaries of which three flow through Telangana before reaching Andhra.
One of them travels from Nasik to Telangana and brings about 22.23 per cent of Godavari to Telangana. But as the upper riparian states Maharashtra and Karnataka are constructing several minor dams, the SRSP project in Telangana is facing a water crunch. “Telangana is diverting water in reverse mode from Kaleshwaram,” Jagan said. The second tributary, Pranahita, too flows through Telangana and accounts for 35.46 per cent of Godavari flow. The third, Indravati sub-basin, also travels through Telangana and carries 23 percent of the Godavari waters. “Sabari sub-basin is the only tributary that comes directly to Andhra from Chhattisgarh and Odisha. This accounts for only 12 percent of the total Godavari waters,” he explained.
He further said, “I am surprised they (TDP) say Telangana cannot and will not build dams. These days small barrages can be built. I myself have seen at Kaleshwaram how they are lifting 17 tmc at each barrage... they completed Kaleshwaram and were drawing 450 tmc when TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu was the chief minister. At the same Kaleshwaram, if they set up more lifts, they can draw another 150 tmc. I shudder at the thought of what might happen ten years hence as water utilisation is increasing and availability is dwindling by the day.”
If the 47-year average data of the Central Water Commission is considered, Jagan said, it transpires that only 500-600 tmc will be fully under our State as the rest of the Godavari flows via Telangana. As far as the Krishna is concerned, he said the 47-year average of the State’s share is 1,200 tmc but in reality, in the last 10 years, the State is receiving only 600 tmc and in the last five years, it has further come down to 400 tmc.
“Our allotted share is 811 tmc! Karnataka is increasing the Almatti dam height to 524 metres from 519. The additional height will add an additional storage capacity of 110 tmc and utilisation capacity of 130-140 tmc. We will not even get 250 tmc at Srisailam. When will Srisailam fill up to the brim? What happens to the projects in Telangana, Prakasam and Nellore? When will Nagarjuna Sagar get water? Similarly, how will Krishna, Guntur and West Godavari get water? We need to appreciate this reality,” Jagan emphasised.
Explaining that Godavari water could be diverted to Srisailam and Sagar, he said the present dam capacity at Srisailam is 215 tmc and at Sagar, it is 315 tmc. “These two projects are the joint property of Telangana and Andhra. Their ayacut area in Telangana is spread over four districts and nine districts in Andhra. The interests of the two States are intertwined. Polavaram on the other hand will have 190 tmc capacity and it costs Rs 55,000 crore,” Jagan said. At this point when the TDP members trooped into the well of the House and raised slogans, the Chief Minister was visibly upset and accused them of trying to prevent him from placing facts before the people. Nonetheless, he continued insisting that interests of the people will be served if both Telangana and Andhra walk together. He clarified that the proposal was still being fine-tuned and officials will think it through thoroughly.