The demand for special category status for Telangana and withdrawal of the ordinance transferring 205 villages in Khammam district of the new State to Andhra Pradesh as part of construction of Polavaram project, will figure prominently in the meetings of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Union Ministers in New Delhi on Saturday.
Mr. Rao who will leave here on Friday evening for the capital on his first visit after being sworn in as the Chief Minister has a hectic schedule, meeting not only the Prime Minister but the President Pranab Mukherjee, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Ravi Shankar Prasad. He will return on Sunday morning to be available for the first session of Telangana Assembly from the next day.
Sources said Mr. Rao will try to convince Mr. Modi that it was Telangana which was in dire need of getting the special category status, rather than Andhra Pradesh, because eight out of its ten districts were already recognised as backward. He will also urge the Centre to meet the demand-supply mismatch in power sector.
The bifurcation law has accorded Andhra Pradesh special category status for five years which entails tax incentives and 90 per cent grant from Centre to spur industrialisation and economic growth. Besides seeking withdrawal of the ordinance that sought to transfer to Andhra Pradesh villages in submergence zone of Polavaram project that were located in Telangana, sources added that Mr. Rao will ask Mr. Modi to redesign the project in a manner that a navigational irrigation system was constructed instead of a major reservoir at a single location.
He will present to Mr. Modi recommendations of irrigation experts that contemplated barrages downstream of Polavaram and at Bhadrachalam and across Sabari river. The barrages will have a live storage of 79 tmc ft as against 75 tmc ft at the proposed Polavaram reservoir. Moreover, there will be zero submergence in Odisha and Chhattisgarh which were opposed to the project. Only 72 villages in Khammam and Andhra Pradesh will be affected and the cost would also come down from Rs. 16,000 to 10,000 crore.
Mr. Rao will meet the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for liberal sanction of funds to Telangana as it was a new State and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to thrash out issues related to employees. He was also expected to call on Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu seeking extension of the stretch of Hyderabad metro rail from 72 kms to 200 kms and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to sort out some legal issues.