The water-tussle which caused the division of united Andhra Pradesh appeared to have resurfaced after a spell of 5 years causing embarrassment to both Telangana and Andhra states. The issue was raked up by the AP government by issuing a GO No.203 on May 5, 2020, giving administrative sanction to build Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) to lift 7 TMC of water from Srisailam Reservoir and 3 TMC of water every day from Sangameswaram project.
The GO signed by the Special Principal Secretary of AP Irrigation Department Adityanath Das, clearly indicated that the water will be taken to SRBC (Srisailam Right Bank Canal) at a cost of Rs 3,825 Crore. Similarly, the GO also facilitated to increase the Pothireddypadu head regulator capacity to match increasing water inflow and an additional Rs 507.45 crore has been allocated for the purpose.
The GO further facilitated to take up the lining of SRBC and Galeru Nagari and expansion of the reservoir capacity of Banakacharla head regulator at a cost of Rs 939.65 crore besides construction of Additional Infill Regulator at a cost of Rs 36.95 crore in Gorakallu Balancing Reservoir. The AP government also cleared modernisation of canals of Galeru Nagari and SRBC canal network at a cost of Rs 1,457.10 crore.
Though these measures may not harm Telangana in any manner. However, what harms is the decision to lift an additional 10 TMC of waters from Srisailam through its newly titled ‘Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Project’ which I think might be a renamed version of Pothireddypadu.
It may be recalled that the same Pothireddypadu head regulatory during late NT Rama Rao’s regime was originally meant to draw Srisailam dam backwaters through gravity only to fill Velugodu reservoir and supply the same to Telugu Ganga Project through Galeru-Nagari canal. It was only during the term of Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy in 2005 who had decided to expand to draw waters up to 45,000 cusecs (4 TMC) by enhancing its capacity from its original 11,000 Cuescs (1 TMC). He had also sanctioned an amount of Rs 450 crores for the same.
The Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao who was then in opposition has objected to the project and raised many hues and cries alleging the project would turn Mahabubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts into a desert following which the project could not be taken off. After reigning power in Telangana, he could even succeed in giving a shape to the crucial project – Palamur Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation from the backwaters of Srisailam reservoir. Now, with the AP Government deciding to go ahead with construction of its new LI project (it is not clear whether the Pothireddypadu has been renamed as the RLIP or is it an entirely a new one), things would come back to square.
And its been 15 years since the project was not just shelved out but there was no trace of Pothireddypadu issue after the formation of Telangana. And thanks to the ‘Dinner Diplomacy’ of KCR that seems to have failed, the issue again surfaced with a new dimension albeit this time.
Now it is to be seen how KCR being at the helm of affairs will handle the issue. He has already announced that he would seek the court’s intervention in this regard. Will the development impact on AP-TS relationships?