A significant accord
River Godavari has always been elusive for Telangana. The curse of the nature prevented optimal exploitation of Godavari waters. Godavari flows at a low level, making lift irrigation mandatory at many places as the possibility for gravity projects is limited. The catchment area of the Godavari lying in the State is 79%. But, natural constraints coupled with protracted inter-state disputes deprived
River Godavari has always been elusive for Telangana. The curse of the nature prevented optimal exploitation of Godavari waters. Godavari flows at a low level, making lift irrigation mandatory at many places as the possibility for gravity projects is limited. The catchment area of the Godavari lying in the State is 79%. But, natural constraints coupled with protracted inter-state disputes deprived full utilisation of Godavari waters.
Especially, the Northern Telangana and areas before Pranahita and Indravati join Godavari face severe shortage of water resources. The siltation in Sriram Sagar Project reduced the acreage under this principal source of irrigation in Telangana. Given this context, an accord with Maharashtra, laying to rest decades-old disputes, would immensely help in finest exploitation of Godavari waters.
Inter-state projects often result in severe delays causing time and cost overruns. Amicable settlement of these disputes between Maharashtra and Telangana would illustrate the possibility of peaceful resolution of all inter-state river water disputes. The Telangana government’s willingness to similarly resolve disputes with other states is a welcome feature.
The significant aspect of this accord is a resolve to set up an inter-state council to look into inter-state agreements reached between united Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and construction of future projects. Such an inter-state body would ensure smooth sharing of inter-state rivers. This is a shining example of co-operation between two neighbouring states to the mutual advantage.
The inter-state council headed by the two Chief Ministers would provide a political resolve to sort out differences. Political statesmanship is vital to solve complex inter-state river water disputes. The Telangana Chief Minister’s announcement that the state would show a similar spirit of accommodation to resolve differences with Karnataka and even Andhra Pradesh is a happy augury.
Such a spirit of inter-state cooperation is much more essential especially for sharing and using Godavari waters in an optimal manner as nearly 4,000 TMCFT of Godavari water is wasted into the ocean every year while the state reels under acute drought quite often. Use of Medigadda waters even by Maharashtra to irrigate the backward Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra is an example of win-win situation.
Inter-state river water disputes are galore in India. At the same time, India has inter-country agreements to harness river waters with nations like Nepal, Bangladesh and even Pakistan. This reveals the gap between possibility and reality. The groundwater utilisation in Telangana has long back reached an unsustainable level, demanding exploitation of river waters to irrigate the state. Water was one of the prime demands of the movement for a separate state of Telangana.
Thus, the state government has a greater responsibility to work faster. The Chief Minister’s decision to provide Rs 25,000 crore in the ensuing budget for irrigation will help in capitalising on the historic inter-state accord. It’s much more interesting that the two states ruled by different political parties reached this accord. This illustrates the need for keeping aside politics to harness natural resources for the development of people.