VIJAYAWADA: Strongly defending the proposed Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) amid provocative acts and utterances of the Telangana government, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday shot off two separate missives to Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar and Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, seeking environmental clearance for the project and the Central government’s intervention to prevent the neighbouring State from violating the AP Reorganisation Act. Significantly, in his letter to Shekhawat, the Chief Minister accused the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) of being biased against Andhra Pradesh.
Jagan has already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently drawing his attention to the Telangana government’s unilateral decision to generate power at Srisailam beyond permissible limits. His latest approach to the Centre comes in the wake of his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement that he wants a fifty per cent share in Krishna waters for his State.
Explaining the need for expediting RLIS to Javadekar, the Chief Minister brought to his notice the whimsical attitude of Telangana in generating power unilaterally from common reservoirs on river Krishna violating all the operational protocols, agreements and directions of the KRMB depriving the right of Andhra to utilise its allocated share of water.
Additional info on RLIS sent to NGT & DPR to Central Water Commission
“Telangana started utilising Srisailam reservoir waters from day one of the water year 2021-22 (June 1, 2021) for power generation though the current reservoir levels are well below +834 ft which is the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) for the generation of power. This is done unilaterally without raising any indent before KRMB although there is no irrigation requirement under Nagarjuna Sagar project and Krishna Delta system,’’ he said, noting that power generation is only incidental to irrigation needs. Stressing that Telangana is not allowing the water levels to be built up at the Srisailam reservoir, he informed that the neighbouring State has utilised 19 tmc out of 26 tmc inflows from June 1, 2021, for power generation by drawing water at 796 ft itself.
“In my earlier letter too, it was brought to your notice that unless a level of +854 ft is reached, water cannot be drawn through gravity from Pothireddypadu to meet the drinking water and irrigation needs of the chronically drought-prone Rayalaseema region, Nellore, Prakasam districts and also to supply drinking water to Chennai city,’’ the Chief Minister emphasised.
On the unauthorised irrigation projects in Telangana, Jagan said the neighbouring State is constructing a project like Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) and Dindi LIS at 800 ft level without environmental clearance, which will make it very difficult for the reservoir levels to reach anything above 854 ft and will not allow AP to draw its allocated share. Given these reasons, Jagan observed that Andhra Pradesh is left with no other option but to go for RLIS to supplement three tmc water per day to the existing projects of Telugu Ganga, Srisailam Right Bank Canal, Galeru Nagari Sujala Sravathi and for supplying drinking water to Chennai from a level of +800 feet. “In view of the whimsical way of water drawl by Telangana in blatant disregard to the norms and protocol, it is necessary to commence and complete RLIS at an early date,’’ he asserted.
The Chief Minister recalled that the Andhra government had applied for environmental clearance for RLIS in accordance with the orders of the National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone, Chennai. “The Environmental Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the MoEF on June 17, after thorough deliberations on the proposal, requested for some additional information and the same was uploaded on June 30, 2021,’’ he said, adding that the Detailed Project Report was also sent to the Central Water Commission on June 30.
Pointing out that the EAC is scheduled to meet on July 7, Jagan requested the minister to give necessary instructions for granting environmental clearance to RLIS so that the scheme can be commenced and completed fast. “This scheme does not involve land acquisition, forest area, wildlife sanctuary and is located beyond 10 km of Eco-Sensitive Zone,’’ he said, further stressing that any delay would adversely affect the interests of AP.