VIJAYAWADA: With the Central government allocating Rs 5,300 crore in the union budget to the Upper Bhadra project in Karnataka, giving it a national project status, leaders of Rayalaseema and the farming community are apprehensive of its impact on the future water availability to Rayalaseema from Tungabhadra river, considered the lifeline of Rayalaseema region.
Bhadra, the 178 km long river originating in Samse of Western Ghats and joins the Tunga river at Koodali near Shivamogga to form the Tungabhandra river, which is the main tributary of the Krishna river. Before joining Krishna, Tungabhadra flows mainly in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh after crossing the Andhra-Karnataka border.
Bojja Dasaratha Rami Reddy, president of Rayalaseema Saghnuneeti Sadhana Samithi blamed the lack of political will for the present situation and questioned how long people of Rayalaseema have to suffer with political leaders failing to safeguard the rights and interests of the region.
“Upper Bhadra project will have a severe impact on the prospects of the Rayalaseema region, which is closely tied with the Tungabhadra region. Once the Upper Bhadra project is completed, the water availability in the Tungabhandra river in the Rayalaseema region, particularly during the lean period, will be a million dollars questions. Already, we are suffering with decreased release of water from the Tungabhadra project with project officials citing a decrease in the storage capacity of the project due to the accumulation of silt.
Rayalseema Intellectual Forum convener M Purushotham Reddy blamed the silence of present and previous governments for the prevailing.
“Karnataka government for whatever reasons could get the funds allocated for the project, which is yet to be notified. On the other hand, our policymakers are yet to take a decision on the construction of Gundrevula project on Tungabhandra, which was notified by Bachawat tribunal several decades ago,” he said describing the silence of the policy makers as an unpardonable sin being committed against the people of Rayalaseema.
According to him, water availability in Tungabhandra is more than in the Krishna river, but no projects to store surplus or allocated water has become a major disadvantage for the Rayalaseema region. “We too have to be forceful in getting funds for the Gundrevula project to offset the losses in future due to the Upper Bhadra project,” he said while stressing the need for a proactive approach by the state government.
Retired irrigation engineer M Subbarayudu admitted to the threat of water availability due to the project, adding, there is an urgent need for taking up the Gundrevula project on a top priority basis.
‘Rayalaseema falling prey to politics’
Bojja Dasaratha Rami Reddy, president of Rayalaseema Saghnuneeti Sadhana Samithi blamed the lack of political will for the present situation and questioned how long people of Rayalaseema have to suffer with political leaders failing to safeguard the rights and interests of the region