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Answer these questions

Answer these questions
Highlights

Telangana has signed three agreements with Maharashtra to utilise its allocated share of waters in Godavari, Pranahitha and Penganga rivers.  The ruling party calls it a historic inter-State accord while the opposition dismisses it as a great betrayal. The common man who finds it difficult to comprehend the technicalities of irrigation designs is simply aghast at the polemics. 

Telangana has signed three agreements with Maharashtra to utilise its allocated share of waters in Godavari, Pranahitha and Penganga rivers. The ruling party calls it a historic inter-State accord while the opposition dismisses it as a great betrayal. The common man who finds it difficult to comprehend the technicalities of irrigation designs is simply aghast at the polemics.

Both the government and the opposition agree on the fact that it would have better served the interests of Telangana had Maharashtra agreed to the 152 meter full reservoir level (FRL) at Tummidihatti. This is much higher FRL allowing for greater drawal of waters by gravity compared to the alternative proposal now the two States agreed to. Tummidihatti is across Pranahitha River where the water is abundantly available.

But, the Maharashtra raising submergence concerns refused to accede to the request for 152 meters FRL. Instead, it agreed to the construction of the Tummidihatti barrage at 148 meters FRL only. Lower FRL yields much less water as the storage capacity plummets to one-third.

The project was inordinately delayed owing to objections from Maharashtra. Now, the Telangana government agreed to lower the project FRL to 148 meters only, paving the way for the inter-State accord. To compensate for loss of water at Tummidihatti, Maharashtra agreed to Telangana constructing barrages at Medigadda across Godavari River at a lower level of 100 meters FRL.

Water would be lifted from Medigadda reservoir by Step Ladder Technology wherein series of barrages would be constructed across Godavari river. Besides, barrages will be constructed across Penganga. The government calls this alternative plan as its sagacity. But, critics point out many infirmities in the argument and inter-State asymmetries.

The alternative plan arrived at Mumbai between the two States would entail higher construction costs due to the need for constructing more barrages instead of the upper reservoir at a greater height. As the barrages are at a much lower level, the water cannot flow through gravity and its utilisation demands erecting and running lifts, incurring capital and recurring expenditure. More power is required to run these lifts.

Tummidihatti is proposed on Pranahitha river, while the alternative barrages are proposed across Godavari River. The Godavari has a problem of siltation as experienced by Sriram Sagar and Nizam Sagar projects. The storage in these projects has shrunk due to siltation. Pranahitha has no such problem to a great extent.

Only a few hundred acres of land in Maharashtra would be submerged if the height of Tummidihatti is 152 meters FRL, instead of 148 meters it agreed to now. It would have been in fitness of things if the State government has prevailed over the Centre to convince Maharashtra for 152 meters FRL. Hefty compensation can also be paid.

Certainly, it is not a herculean task. The State government should have taken an all-party delegation to Prime Minister, seeking his intervention. But, the government argues that Maharashtra could not be convinced, when both the State and the Centre were ruled by the same party.

Instead of squandering away precious water resources bogged down in inter-State controversies, it is better to reconcile. The government calls this reconciliation historic while the opposition paints it as surrender. However, answers to these questions are an imperative.

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