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Centre's move shatters KCR's water dream

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao
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Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao

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The Government of Telangana State is unhappy with the notification of the Union Government to take over control and management of all irrigation projects in the State not only because it would adversely impact the interests of the State but also because the most important department of irrigation, would lose its sheen.

Hyderabad: The Government of Telangana State is unhappy with the notification of the Union Government to take over control and management of all irrigation projects in the State not only because it would adversely impact the interests of the State but also because the most important department of irrigation, would lose its sheen.

Ever since the new state was formed, the TRS government had given high priority to irrigation. It had redesigned most of the projects claiming that it would give a boost to the agriculture sector.

The government had even renamed the Irrigation department as Water Resources Department and decentralised its functioning and it was given top priority in budgetary allocations. Now, the officials fear that this department would now become an insignificant one.

Senior officials say that the department would have no role to play even in hydel power generation and will have to just follow the instructions of the board.

"As per the notification, Sub-section(1) of Section 87 of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014, provides that the Board shall ordinarily exercise jurisdiction on Godavari and Krishna rivers regarding any of the projects over head works (barrages, dams, reservoirs, regulating structures), part of canal network and transmission lines necessary to deliver water or power to the States concerned," officials said.

The enforcement of the subsection may impinge the powers given to the state Irrigation department in the maintenance of the projects, the said.

The notification clearly mentioned that the board will look after the projects' management and the state Irrigation officials will have to obey the orders.

The state officials would lose most of the powers they enjoyed and prevent them from taking independent decisions about projects' maintenance during the water release and also during dry seasons, said the officials. The notification would come into force with effect from October 14, 2021.

Within six months from the date of publication of this notification, both the State Governments shall get the unapproved projects appraised and approved as per the provisions of the said Act.

If approvals are not obtained within the stipulated time of six months, such completed unapproved projects shall cease to operate. "It means all the officials working at the ongoing unapproved projects would follow the instructions of the two Boards from the date of the commencement of the notification," they said.

If the notification is enforced in true spirit without any changes from October this year, the just revamped irrigation department would have to be reconstituted in tune with the central notification which conferred powers to the Krishna and Godavari boards.

"The CM was holding the Irrigation portfolio in the KCR – 2 regime and his vision to make the irrigation wing a vibrant organisation in water and projects management will remain an unfulfilled dream," a senior official averred.

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