Chief Minister K. Rosaiah has rejected the demand put forth by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao for a CBI probe into the irrigation projects taken up under Jalayagnam.
He also rejected the views expressed by Mr. Rao that the floods in the Krishna river that wreaked havoc in the State was due to ‘human error’.
Speaking to the media here on Thursday, Mr. Rosaiah said irrigation engineers and officials had done excellent work and no mistake was committed by any one of them at any stage in respect of impounding of water in Srisailam dam and regulation of the inflows and outflows at this dam and also at Nagarjunasagar and Prakasam Barrage.
He said Srisailam dam received unprecedented inflows unexpectedly from the local catchment area for the first time and this was the actual reason for the floods. The argument put forth by the TRS chief was ‘funny’, he said. “Each person will have his own line of thinking. After all, opposition leaders will not and can’t give clean certificate to us. I take everything positively,” he remarked.
Answering questions, the Chief Minister said officials of all the departments did commendable work during the floods. Otherwise, the damage would have been far higher.
Asked to react on the opinion expressed by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi that any inter-river linking would result in floods, Mr. Rosaiah said he might have spoken so in the context of the proposal to link Ganga and Cauvery.
In Andhra Pradesh, inter-river linking was taken up to transfer surplus waters available in the Godavari to the Krishna which suffered from deficit due to heavy commitments arising out of the projects built on it.
The Chief Minister parried questions on when he would expand his Cabinet, saying, “Will I do it without informing the press?”
KCR draws flak
Meanwhile, outraged Congress leaders mounted a scathing attack on TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao for alleging that the ‘illegal and ill-motivated irrigation projects’ promoted by former Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy were responsible for the floods in the State.
Four Ministers -- D. Sridhar Babu, Sabitha Indra Reddy, V. Sunitha Lakshma Reddy and D. K.Aruna -- and Nagarkurnool MP Manda Jagannath at a press conference on Thursday minced no words about the timing of Mr. Rao’s charges when the State was reeling under unprecedented floods.
Accusing him of indulging in mudslinging, the Ministers questioned his moral right to target YSR and the State government when he himself had not bothered to visit his Lok Sabha constituency Mahabubnagar, which was also affected by floods.
Stating that Mr. Rao’s remarks were aimed at benefiting the neighbouring State of Karnataka, Mr. Sridhar Babu said the TRS chief was trying to whip up regional sentiments over the issue. He said the TRS leader, who was always away from the public was misleading the people by stating that it was Pothireddypadu head regulator that caused so much of devastation.
He denied the charge that the government’s apathy led to the floods and pointed out that sudden cloud burst led to such unprecedented flooding. He also faulted Mr. Rao for stating that the increase in Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) of Srisailam reservoir to 854 feet was the major cause of flooding.
He reasoned that it was done keeping in view the irrigation needs and power generation.
About increasing the height of Pothireddypadu, he said this was done after consulting all parties.
He questioned whether the projects being constructed in Telangana were also illegal. He wanted the TRS chief to withdraw his objectionable remarks.
Former Minister T. Jeevan Reddy said KCR’s allegations indicated that he was once again trying to ‘blackmail’ the Congress. APCC spokespersons K. Mruthyunjayam and B.Kamalakar Rao demanded that the TRS chief resign his Lok Sabha seat for failing to come to the aid of his voters.