The Andhra Pradesh government has agreed to the Opposition parties’ request in the Assembly to lead an all-party delegation to New Delhi shortly as part of the efforts to mount pressure on the Centre to prevail upon Maharashtra and Karnataka to stop construction of “illegal” irrigation projects.
Responding to their suggestion, Finance Minister K. Rosaiah has underlined the need for the parties to represent the State’s cause in one voice to protect its interests even as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti MLAs staged a walk out in protest against the government’s “inaction” on the projects that “will lead to desertification of the Telangana region”.
Construction of projects across Krishna and Godavari by neighbouring States which figured during the Question Hour in the Assembly on Monday was devoid of the usual acrimony associated with the contentious issue.
Earlier, Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah who replied to the one-hour debate said the State sought the Centre’s intervention in the projects constructed ‘illegally’ and was seeking legal and constitutional remedies by effectively articulating its views before the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal. Asked why the government approached the Supreme Court only on the Babli project while 11 other projects were under construction across the Godavari by Maharashtra, the Minister said it was a strategic measure to pre-empt the neighbouring State’s efforts to project the issue as an inter-State dispute.
Raising serious concern about the construction of these projects, the Telugu Desam, CPI and the TRS members wanted the House to pass a unanimous resolution against the projects and demanded that the government lead an all-party delegation to mount pressure on the Centre. Leader of Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu pointed out that Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily who had the authority to invoke the provisions under the Inter State Water Disputes Act, 1956, had defended the construction of projects by Karnataka.
The situation called for concerted action of all the parties to mount pressure on the Centre by staging dharna-s, if need be. The Finance Minister, however, said that indulging in “street demonstrations” would not solve the problem. He assured that a meeting would be convened after Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s return from New Delhi to chalk out strategies to convince the Centre to stop the projects on the Krishna and the Godavari.