Water and power sharing are set to become contentious issues between Andhra and Telangana when their division become a reality.
Given the importance of the water for the fertile Krishna delta, which has given Andhra Pradesh its reputation as India’s rice granary, a conflict could arise over sharing this resource before the formal announcement on the creation of the new State.
This must be understood in the backdrop of the fact that assured water from Krishna (811 tmcft) and Godavari (1,480 tmcft) had already been allocated project-wise. Of the total 811 tmcft of Andhra Pradesh’s share of the Krishna water, 298 tmcft has been allocated to Telangana, 145 tmcft to Rayalaseema and the remaining 368 tmcft to the Andhra region.
The State is likely to be awarded an additional 227 tmcft by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal, of which 77 tmcft has been allocated to Telangana and the rest to the Seemandhra region (Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema). The additional allocation is based on the surplus water, hitherto enjoyed totally by the State, but now apportioned among the three riparian States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
How will surplus water be shared when Andhra Pradesh is divided? The surplus water has been programmed for use in seven projects — three in Telangana and four in the Seemandhra region. “But, it has to be seen how things will develop as the projects based on surplus water will not have legal sanctity till the tribunal notifies the award,” says the former Central Water Commission member, R. Vidysagar Rao.
The issue in the case of Godavari water is simpler: 900 tmcft of assured water is allocated to projects in Telangana and 580 tmcft to Seemandhra. Experts feel that the chance of securing any additional share from the two rivers is remote going by the current trends and methodology adopted by the tribunal.
But the hope is that such problems can be addressed. “Water sharing is not an insurmountable issue, provided the Centre and the two States are keen on settling the issue,” irrigation expert T. Hanumantha Rao told The Hindu. However, projects like Polavaram on the Godavari will not see the light of the day till the court settles issues of submergence. Both Mr. Vidyasagar Rao and Mr. Hanumantha Rao stress the need for boards, on the lines of the Tungabhadra and Cauvery rivers for monitoring the water distribution between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
“But the Board should have teeth, unlike the one for Tungabhadra, with powers to enforce the agreements on sharing of water as well as ensuring that there is no pilferage by either side,” Mr. Vidyasagar Rao argues.
There is a major concern on the power front, but experts point out that completion of the ongoing capacity addition projects would generate a surplus in both States. Of the Andhra Pradesh Generation Corporation’s total installed capacity of 8,924 MW, 4,825 MW (54 per cent) is now generated from Telangana projects while the balance comes from projects in Seemandhra. “It will take time as projects cannot be completed overnight,” says Transco joint managing director D. Prabhakar Rao.
Keywords: The Sunday Story, states formation, statehood demands, Telangana issue, A.P. bifurcation, nationalist movements, self-determination, right to self-determination, smaller states, Indian Constitution