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Solutions to water problems between Seemandhra and T

Solutions to water problems between Seemandhra and T
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Water-sharing problems between Telangana and Seemandhra may appear insurmountable at the outset. When examined from the international angle, (where I...

When compared to the gigantic problem of working out a solution between different countries ruled by different ideologies, this problem of solving between two states in the same country would appear as a “child’s play”.

Water-sharing problems between Telangana and Seemandhra may appear insurmountable at the outset. When examined from the international angle, (where I had the good fortune of working in African and Asian countries), these problems can be solved with a little effort and it is not that difficult as is being made out now by the people’s representatives and the public. When eight different Nile basin countries (Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya,Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda) with separate national governments and armies, could sign treaties and cooperate in sharing Nile river waters, is it too difficult to solve water sharing problems between two states, both situated in the same country?

Other examples of international water sharing (countries in brackets) are: Amazon (six countries); Rhine, Rhone (three); Danube (eight); Mekong (five); Indus (two). When compared to the gigantic problem of working out a solution between different countries ruled by different ideologies, this problem of solving between two states in the same country would appear as a “child’s play”. The basic requirement is that both the states should have a strong will and attitude to solve the problem.

I suggest the following three steps, though several other methods can also be examined:

Krishna Basin projects: Water sharing between different projects in both the states was already allocated for 75% dependable yield by the tribunal. AP State Government had already allocated the “surplus waters” for different projects like Nettempadu, Kalwakurthi, SLBC, Hundri-Neeva, Galeru-Nagari, Telugu Ganga and Veligonda and sanctioned these projects. All these earlier decided water allocations will have to be followed and to facilitate this in both the states “Krishna Control Board” will have to be formed with the representatives of both the state governments and Centre.

This board should be provided with “teeth.” That is, mandatory powers to implement their orders by the state governments. Any violations would lead to prosecution of concerned persons (from the lowest to the highest), judicial custody, court hearings, etc. This is similar to the provisions made in the “Forest Conservation Act 1980”. It has to be noted that such powers are not there in the existing boards for Tungabhadra, Kaveri etc.

The main functions of operating all gates and sluices at Srisailam (including Pothireddy Padu) and Nagarjunasagar will have to be done by the staff of the board and both the state governments should have no separate (individual) control on these aspects.

With regarding to the first lift operation from the reservoir for the lift schemes, the same will have to be done by the state governments as directed by the board. Pulichinthala project is located within the territory of Seemandhra and is intended for the purpose of storing intermediate catchment flows. It is not necessary to include this project within the purview of the board.

Godavari Basin projects: All projects commencing from SRSP to Devadula are in Telangana and serve the interests of this state only. Hence they will be fully under the control of this state. In the case of “Dummagudem – Nagarjunasagar Tail Pond” project, this can be attached to the “Krishna Control Board” as this is solely meant for diverting 165 TMC to Krishna river and also giving supplementary irrigation to the ayacut on the left side of Nagarjunasagar. All this would however arise only when Telangana agrees for this project (including sharing of funds) which is highly improbable in the present context of Telangana which has been opposing this project for several years.

With regard to Polavaram project, which is located in Seemandhra (solely benefiting the coastal AP area), the main problem is with regard to submersion of tribal lands and habitats within Telangana. Even when the objections raised by the upstream two states are cleared (which is highly improbable under the present circumstances), the problems pertaining to submersion of tribal lands in Telangana will have to be solved.

According to GO Ms 68 of 8-4-2005 of AP Government on rehabilitation, as well as conditions stipulated by the Ministry of Tribal Welfare GOI in April 2007 and Planning Commission in 15-2-2009, the tribals will have to be provided lands in the command area of the Polavaram project in lieu of their lands submerged in the project. This is not done and not a single acre of land in command area was allocated even after eight years of commencing the project (though the project canal works are almost completed). As a part of water sharing agreement, Seemandhra may have to first agree to comply with these conditions already stipulated by the state and central governments. This is very much required also according to the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. As a first step in this direction, the areas to be allocated to the tribals in the command area will have to be identified and this is quite a gigantic task since more than 1 lakh acres are involved.

Also they have ‘to be declared as’ Schedule 5 area by the President of India. In such a situation, the agreement between the two states may stipulate that the above should be complied with first, before continuing the construction of the project, which means that the present project work will have to be stopped till this important condition (as already stipulated by the State Government and GOI) is complied with. It has to be clearly understood by both the states that this issue should not be treated as an objection to the project, since it is only a complying of the orders already issued by the state and central governments.

New Projects: Both the states will have freedom to construct new projects on inter-state rivers as per the present rules and procedures and there is no need for any separate water sharing agreement.

(The writer is former Engineer-in-Chief, United Nations Operations Projects Services Consultant)

Seemandhra lacks leaders to settle key issues

Some coastal region people might have invested when they saw the growth of Hyderabad. But that doesn’t make them builders of Hyderabad. The real builder of the city is the Central Government

Andhra and Rayalaseema regions have now understood that they lack strong political leader at this critical juncture. TDP President Chandrababu Naidu is supposed to take the lead but could not. Moreover, his ambiguity towards Telangana has created more problems.

At times, he says the decision on separate Telangana is right and at some other time wrong since it is based on Congress political considerations. In fact, he had submitted letters twice accepting Telangana as a state. If he had done it whole-heartedly, he should have gone to the people and told them not to fear about the separation and build the Andhra state. He has lost his credibility because of his ambivalent attitude. Among the old generation leaders, Konijeti Rosaiah is there. Can he tell the people of Andhra to halt the agitation and build their own state?

Andhra is lacking an able leader like Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy or NT Rama Rao. Only leaders like them can stop the ongoing agitation in Seemandhra. The Antony committee constituted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi to hear the arguments of both sides appears to be favorable to the Telangana leaders. Of course, the panel is making efforts to pacify the Andhra leaders with some packages, though they are not yielding to the pressure.

Andhra people may satisfy if Hyderabad is made a Union Territory but the Telangana people will not accept it as they insist that Hyderabad is part of Telangana and there is no compromise on it. There is nothing wrong in that claim considering the fact that when Chennai is with Tamil Nadu, Mumbai with Maharashtra, why not Hyderabad with Telangana?

Ironically, the Telugu people of Andhra had faced the same predicament they are facing now when they wanted a separate state when Andhra was part of Madras State, now Tamil Nadu. In spite of best efforts put in by the Andhra people to keep the Madras city with them they could not succeed as C Rajagopala Chari strongly objected to it. Now, the same Andhra people are demanding that Hyderabad should not be given to Telangana.

If Andhras accept bifurcation, they will have a chance to develop their area. But they don’t want to lose Hyderabad because they think they are the architects of the city. How can they claim it? Some coastal region people might have invested when they saw the growth of Hyderabad. But that doesn’t make them builders of Hyderabad. The real builder of the city is the Central Government.

In the 1980s, the Central Government had opened a number of research institutions along with big industries like BHEL, ECIL, DRDL and a lot more. Under the six-point formula, Hyderabad has got Central University. This would have been established in any Andhra area if any Andhra leader had demanded for it. The Regional Engineering College, now called National Institute of Technology (NIT) is located in Warangal in Telangana. Hyderabad got global recognition after it became a hub for IT and ITES for which Chandrababu is partly responsible. Later Rajasekhara Reddy also gave a big boost to Hyderabad as he felt that it was one way of cooling down Telangana tempers. He also got IIT, among others.

As a result, the Andhra area has not had any prestigious educational institution or top hospital like NIMS. Now every Andhra leader moans that their region has been lagging behind in development. If they are keen on developing their area, they should ask the Central Government for special packages to build a world class capital city with prestigious institutions. But even today they don’t want anything if Hyderabad is given to them.

The people of Krishna, Guntur and West Godavari districts are rich because of the fertile land. Their main target is irrigation water, not the development of their cities. Ignoring them, they have focused on Hyderabad and invested there. Vijayawada has developed on its own because of its commercial importance.

The real losers are middle and upper class people. Rich people send their children go to better cities for better education and BCs and SCs get fee reimbursements. What Andhras want now is a cosmopolitan city to attract investments from outside which is not possible for at least another 10 years as the present Andhra cities will take a lot of time to grow with infrastructure like that of Hyderabad, though the Andhra region has big cities like Visakhapatnam ,Vijayawada ,Guntur and Tirupati.

The big question, however, is where will be the capital for Seemandhra. Among the contenders are Visakhapatnam but it is far off from Rayalaseema region. Vijayawada is centrally located but the people of Rayalaseema do not like it as the city is dominant by Kammas. If the capital is located around Ongole then Rayalaseema people may agree as it will be nearer to their region. In any case, Rayalaseema people want a separate state or Greater Rayalaseema with some parts of Coastal Andhra like Ongole and Nellore. Who will settle all these issues and restore peace in the Andhra area? That is a big question before the Andhra and Rayalaseema people.

(The writer has worked with Eenadu Telugu daily, Andhra Prabha and Studio N TV Channel)

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