Andhra Pradesh wants limited role for KRMB, GRMB

River boards should intervene only in controversial issues and leave remaining to states to deal with, officials say 

Published: 04th August 2021 08:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2021 09:13 AM   |  A+A-

Krishna river.

Krishna river (File photo| EPS)

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) should only intervene in critical issues where there is a scope for “controversy and debate” while exercising their jurisdictional powers, and leave the remaining for the states to deal with. This was what the Andhra Pradesh government, which is soon going to write to the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) seeking modifications in the recently issued gazette notifications, conveyed in a nutshell to both the authorities of both the boards in the first coordination committee meeting held in Hyderabad on Tuesday.

The meeting, to which the Telangana officials gave a miss, was held to discuss the plan of action for the implementation of the gazette notifications of both the boards and the status of action initiated by both the state governments for implementation of various clauses of the said notifications. The board officials, including member secretaries of KRMB and GRMB DM Raipure and BP Pandey, and representatives from MoJS and other departments concerned, sought a time frame from the AP officials for the implementation of the same. 

Engineer-in-chief (irrigation) of AP C Narayana Reddy informed the officials that the time frame could be given only after the grievances of the state are addressed by the MoJS.“We have some grievances, which will soon be taken to MoJS’ notice. We informed the boards that after our grievances are addressed, we can discuss organisational setup, funding and to what extent GRMB and KRMB can exercise their powers,” the ENC told the reporters after the meeting.

To a query on what grievances AP has, the ENC added, “There are some issues that need not be mentioned in the notification including inclusion of projects in the schedules, procedure of implementation, funding and others. That is what we are questioning. While these grievances are common in both the notifications, we have more issues with provisions in KRMB’s notification.”It may be recalled that although the state government had welcomed the notifications issued on July 15 and will come into effect from October 14 this year, it said there were provisions that needed “fine-tuning”. 

Sources told TNIE that the officials informed the boards that certain projects, which are not common projects and are outside the basins, need not entirely be under the State control. Similarly, the state officials have also informed that the boards may not need Rs 200 crore seed capital each, which is steep, as mentioned in the gazette. The officials further took to the boards’ notice about how some old projects were classified “unapproved” in the schedules.

“Although the boards have their limitations, we are here to address our grievances. Unless the notification is modified and the basic framework is decided, we can’t go ahead with the implementation. Moreover, KRMB and GRMB can’t burden themselves with more issues. They should leave some things that can be dealt with by the states. Only critical issues in which their presence is required and where some question of debate and controversy arises, they can be kept at their disposal so that it will be easier for them to act,” ENC Narayana Reddy explained.

To another query on when the state will write to MoJS about its grievances, the ENC said that the groundwork had already begun. “Once we discuss with chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, we will do it. It will be done very shortly,” he added.When asked about Telangana officials not attending the critical meeting, the AP top engineering official refrained to comment. However, he was quick to add, “We are always disciplined in all matters. We respect rules, procedures and authorities. We never violated any procedures.”

KRMB members to visit  RLS site on Aug 15 

Finally, the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) is said to have zeroed in on August 5 to visit the Rayalaseema Lift Scheme (RLS) and inspect the project site. The visit has been scheduled in the backdrop of the National Green Tribunal’s recent order in which it said that the board was “at liberty to conduct the inspection on its own” without waiting for the AP government’s support. 

The NGT had previously asked the board and Union ministry of environment and forest to submit a status report in the matter of the contempt petition filed by a Telangana farmer against RLS alleging that AP government was taking up works against the tribunal’s order. 

The KRMB filed an affidavit stating that it had repeatedly tried to visit the project site, but the AP government sought postponement. Following this, the green panel told the board that it was at liberty to inspect the area on its own. The matter is scheduled for further hearing on August 9 and the board is likely to submit its report before the same.

TS gives coordination panel meeting a miss 

Telangana officials gave a miss to the first coordination committee meeting of the GRMB, KRMB held in Hyderabad on Tuesday. When asked about Telangana officials not attending the critical meeting, the AP top engineering official refrained to comment. However, he was quick to add, “We are always disciplined in all matters. We respect rules, procedures and authorities. We never violated any procedures.”


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