Opinion » Lead

Updated: October 5, 2013 01:11 IST

Two states and the Godavari

R. Uma Maheshwari
Comment (22)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Andhra’s resistance to Telangana is linked to future access to the river’s waters on which the coastal region’s industries are heavily dependent

The Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, State Finances for the year ended March 2012 (of the Government of Andhra Pradesh), records that there are 56 incomplete major irrigation projects in all. More than half are directed towards coastal Andhra, and a few to the Rayalaseema region. The details of the projects are available in official records and on the State Irrigation Department’s website. Of these, the financial status of the Indira Sagar Polavaram is shown as follows: in 2004, the year of its commencement, the “original estimated cost” of the project (all in crore) was Rs.10,151.04; the “revised cost” Rs.16,010.45; “expenditure” up to the end of March was Rs.4,234.18; and, the “cost overrun” was Rs.5,859.41. Among other high cost irrigation projects are the Somasila, Indiramma Flood Flow Canal, Indirasagar Rudramakota Lift Irrigation Scheme, AMR-SLBC LIS and the Telugu Ganga project, which has the highest cost overrun of Rs. 7,747.00 crore. There are 16 medium irrigation projects with a total overall cost overrun of Rs. 20,142.06 crore. All these are “incomplete” projects. Some are ongoing.

Apportioning of spoils

In the current battle between pro- and anti-statehood for Telangana, little has been said or written about the Polavaram dam (commenced by the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, whose regime also figured in the leaked WikiLeaks cables for the volume of graft in irrigation projects, with four to five companies executing all the projects), considering that how the spoils of the project are apportioned is important for both Telangana and Andhra, even in the now unlikely event of a new state not being created.

Along with the Telangana announcement, the Congress declared Polavaram a national project, thus centrally sanctioning the largest displacement (from a single project) of the tribal populations of three districts. The maximum submergence will take place in the Khammam district of Telangana, where more than 200 of the 276 official (300 unofficial) villages will go under water. The other two districts are East Godavari and West Godavari Scheduled Area. Yet, keeping aside the displacement aspect for the moment, many other questions arise over the status and politics of Krishna and Godavari rivers now and in future. Where does that leave inter-State Godavari water distribution? And what will be its likely impact on the livelihoods of the tribal communities in the two States?

For the longest time, the Telangana discourse revolved around Godavari waters, irrigation, unequal economic development, farm suicides and the farm debt crisis in most of its agrarian areas. With the creation of a State which lies physiographically upstream (while benefits have flowed downstream) will the dynamics change and in what way remains a question. In deciding allocations of river waters between two States that had hitherto been two regions, would it be about water for basics and agriculture of small and medium farmers of Telangana (whose aspirations for statehood were built on these premises) or for global industrial regimes in the coastal districts?

In 2010, I found an advertisement (a pullout in an English daily, dated June 30) issued by the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation highlighting the “10 Things Good with Godavari” which included “timeless river, rice bowl of south India, rich agriculture, natural resources … access to sea ports, big players already there, a willing administration and peaceful politics.” The ad mentioned the “big players,” including ONGC, Reliance and Cairn Energy. “APIIC has secured four blocks of oil fields — two offshore and two onshore — covering 4,587 sq km … The state’s chief facilitator is the shaping hand in 300 industrial parks, covering a cumulative extent of 1.30 lakh acres. In just the last five years, APIIC made available 30,000 acres of land to entrepreneurs, besides accumulating a land bank of 82,000 acres.”

To me the APIIC was advertising a future closely linked to the Polavaram dam with stakes on Godavari that go way higher than any of the ‘smaller’ and ‘incidental’ issues raised about small and medium farmers’ first or second or third crops. The APIIC was also talking about “an industrial estate at Velugubanda in Rajanagaram mandal …, industrial parks at Peddapuram over 1,100 acres and at Kakinada over 1,053 acres and modernisation of the Samalkot canal to cater to the future needs of industry” apart from the “Kakinada Special Economic Zone” (that was coming up) “over 10,000 acres in East Godavari …”

Andhra Pradesh Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region: This is a “specially delineated investment region of 603.58 sq km for manufacturing and service facilities for domestic and export-led production of petroleum, chemicals and petrochemicals.” The Andhra Pradesh government signed a MoA with the Department of Petrochemicals, Government of India, for this in the year 2009. According to the official website of the APPCPIR, “an investment of $3.95 billion is being made for external infrastructure of PCPIR in Andhra Pradesh. The investments are being made by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh, the Central Government of India and private players …” It also mentions the “major investors,” which include “Reliance, Eisai, Continental Carbon, Velankani, RCL, Naturol, ISPRL, SNF India, Air Liquide, Baker Hughes, Biocon, Phormozell.”

Then there was a connected corporate edifice, called the Visakhapatnam Industrial Water Supply Project (commissioned in 2004), a “first-of-its-kind dedicated Industrial Water Sector Project” which promises “365 days assured industrial water supply” to several “mega-infrastructure projects” coming up in the “near vicinity [of Visakhapatnam] …”

Where will the water come from? From the “Yeleru Left Main Canal from Yeleru Reservoir (385 MLD); Pipeline from Godavari (385 MLD); Samalkota Canal from Godavari (220 MLD); Polavaram Left Main Canal, which is under execution (1848 MLD)” (source:


The entire process of Polavaram dam construction, including canals, pipelines, etc., was almost given away as a largesse by the State government during YSR’s regime to contractors (though ostensibly through tenders) as “packages,” now a Telugu term. Since 2004-05, different stretches of the Polavaram work area, named “C-1”, “C-2” and so on are under contract, sub-contract or joint ventures of private firms such as Progressive Constructions (which, importantly, was founded by the Congress MP, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, who hails from the West Godavari district). Details of contractors can be seen on government websites. A study of the caste, class, and political composition of the companies to which such ‘public works’ are allocated can reveal a few crucial truths. Considering that the largest ‘beneficiaries’ of the Polavaram dam will be the industries along the coastal corridor and the contractors of the dam are mostly from that region, it may be important to look deeper into the agitation in the coastal Andhra region and, to a lesser extent, in Rayalaseema.

The current nature of resistance to Telangana is deeply linked, principally, to the investments in irrigation and real estate projects and future access to Godavari waters for the industrial corridor, on the one hand, and, on the other, for the middle classes, the fear of losing urban and globally connected employment opportunities (apart from government jobs) in Hyderabad than with the ideals of ‘unity’ (samaikyam) or the livelihoods of the poorest of the poor. Even the Telangana camps, including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, seem to have sidelined the issue of the Polavaram dam and its long-term, irreversible, impact in not only matters of ecology and environment but also on what will ultimately remain for the most marginalised (in either regions, or States) once the Godavari is apportioned to global firms in a skewed world economy. Even in case a Telangana state happens, one does not know what will be “gambled away” over this game of dice.

(The author is an independent journalist based in Hyderabad awaiting publication of her book, When Godavari Comes: People’s History of a River)

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A very biased article. While speaking of Godavari, purposefully left the most important facts
of how much water from Godavari is going to Ocean every year, the challenges of terrain of
Telangana, and the riparian rights. If she wants to take the view that if she can't use the
water then others should not use it, or others should use less than what she uses, then
there is no discussion and she made her point. The truth is different. First, more than 3000
TMC of water from Godavari goes to ocean every year, sufficient to support all water needs
of the entire state. Second, even with all modern lift irrigation schemes, Telangana cannot use 300 TMC of that water. In fact many experts have proved that the cost of electricity to lift the water will be more than crop output. Third, most of the water comes after confluence of Pranhita, Indravati, and Sabari. They all come from Maharastra, Chatishgarh and Orissa. So let me be blunt and say that it is not T's water in the first place.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Oct 7, 2013 at 00:03 IST

it is very well thought research.i appreciate your perspective.this is how all the currently issues had to understood and resolved by both the regions. but these projects you mentioned coming into reality is doubtful as happened to many projects in the state. ultimately people of both the regions are loosers and leaders gain.

from:  vijayadurga
Posted on: Oct 6, 2013 at 23:33 IST

Very boring article. The united Andhra Pradesh campaign is based on emotions that naturally comes when a family is divided. These emotions are native. The division is entertained for purely political reasons by both congress and BJP to retain the power. I hope that both Telangana and Seemandhra would reject Congress and BJP. The concept of divide and rule is british and the leading parties are practicing it.

from:  KVR
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 23:51 IST

The author is presenting distorted views. At one point she is saying
that Kavuri's is involved in diverting Godavari water to industrial
use. But the same minister is not supporting united A.P cause now. And
the main contentious issue is revenue sharing between new states as
majority of revenue is comes from Hyd not Godavari. There is less
scope for tapping Godavari in Telangana due to its geography. The lift
irrigation to tag godavari requries 8000 MW of electricity. In 60
years of A.P formation A.P Genco can produce 8000 MM of power. Guess,
how much time/resources required by T state alone.

Hyd has reputation of Pharma capital of India. Most of the industries
like Reddy's, Aurbindo, Martix, Divis are established by Andhra
people. There are numerous other industries. From daily labourer 2
grad student for their livelihood they are coming to hyd. All ready
some section of Telangana leaders are saying that preference should be
given to local people. How will compensate these people?

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 23:12 IST

i am from telangana ...we know the exact cause and riseing of telangana
demand bcz we were faced so many problems with andhra dominated people
problems ..we were treated as slaves for andhra region...abolition of my
language slang is also a one of the main cause

from:  sravan kumar
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 22:19 IST

A great article in fact,I urge people to read it first,why was telangana farmers denied their due share?? And those who say they developed Hyd should remember that Hyd was the richest princely state at the time of merger,nw its just lost its glory,investors benefitted from their invests,they did not invest for charity,people should realise that if Hyderabad was not a gem of a city,andhras would never let go of madras or move kurnool as capital

from:  Nikhilesh Reddy
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 18:50 IST

It's a good article that seeks to enlighten us. We have to consider the
interests of the tribals before going ahead with Polavaram Project.
Another thing is, is it necessary to turn fertile agricultural land into
coastal industrial corridor with its attendant evils such as pollution
of waters and environment?

Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 17:55 IST

"Andhra’s resistance to Telangana is linked to future access to the
river’s waters on which the coastal region’s industries are heavily

I would dare to say these as Half baked statements. There are many such
reasons why Andhra resists to Telangana statehood. Author's reason might
be true but it is one in many. One should notice that even common man of
Andhra is worried not just the industrialists and real-estate cauldron.

Please look from a common-man's prospective to understand the agony in
the 65 day long strike in Andhra. Why is there no panic in common-man
even if basic needs are hit in Andhra? People are travelling by paying
extra bucks, living in dark and NGO's are living salary-less from last
few months. Why? Are they the beneficiaries of Godavari basin?

Request HINDU to value Andhra people's agitation before publishing these
half baked articles!!

from:  Sarath
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 17:09 IST

Being a tamil myself and seen the cauvery dispute all my life, i would
say this dispute between telengana and andhra is going to happen for
good. At least now, the central government will think about
"nationalising" all the rivers of india so that everyone benefits from
the rivers of india instead of just a few states.

from:  John
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 16:48 IST

What this article aims at is totally biased.Andhra Pradesh is the first linguistic State formed by the the then Union Government with the noble idea of uniting the State of Andhra with the State of Hyderabad on the principal of 'one language and one people.People of both the States selflessly agreed to this proposal at that time. There might be few voices against merger at that time from both the States. If Nagarjuna Sagar Project is considered less useful to the needs of Telangan Region ,it may be left in the control of Andhra Region by altering the borders of both Guntur and Nalgonda districts in the proposed State Reorganisation bill, as the said Project was built on the boarders of both the districts.Water can be shared as per the agreements.

from:  A.Ramakrishna
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 16:33 IST

Why are we dividing ourselves into smaller and smaller states? Is it really for
administration concerns or is it for political motives? At this rate, by the year 2020
we could have as many states as the USA.

from:  Suresh Haridas
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 16:24 IST

It is a known fact that Telangana has always been denied it's rightful share of Krishna &
Godavari river waters. Almost all major irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh such as
Nagarjunsagar, Srisailam have been designed and implemented for the benefit of farmers in
Andhra even as they inundated lakhs of hectares of forest,farm lands in Telangana. Leaders
of anti Telangana blatantly allege that with Telangana formation, they will face water
problems as Telangana farmers will be allocated their legitimate shares.

from:  Nitin Reddy
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 12:44 IST

Coastal andhra's worry of water needs for industrial purpose has been given due
attention and some steps like declaration of polavaram irrigation project as national
project are in that direction.The concern of telangana farmers and msme would also be
not compromised in this way.A committee headed by Anthony to look into more
sustainable measures so that there would be no backlash has been
created.Reorganization of state bill 2013 shall take care of all these issue, at least we
can hope for that.But for long term sustainability of country , there is need for
constitution of 2nd state reorganisation commission with clear criteria and conditions
which would pave way for creation of a new state.Ad hoc arrangement would be a
.sustainable solution to such type of issues which as social and regional connotation as

from:  Shivraj Gurjar
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 12:18 IST

Good work but incomplete and partisan.Leave it at that. The concept of Polavaram dam is seriously unscientific as the same available water in Godavari ( for Andhra) is calculated for all the Godavari schemes.The river is mainly from Maharashtra and the water it gets is from the S-W monsoon mainly.The barrage across Godavari in Rajamundry , Cottons barrage )will be left with the S-E monsoon rains once the Polavaram dam is built.And Polavaram will be affected once the Vidarbha region starts using its full quota of Godavari water.
It was evident that the Polavaram in Godavari and the huge lift and pump scheme from Krishna river to Rayalseema will collapse by the time they are commissoned leaving the Congress and YSRC people alone the benificiary by way of kick backs

from:  appan varma
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 11:45 IST

"Records that there are 56 incomplete major irrigation projects in all.
More than half are directed towards coastal Andhra, and a few to the
Rayalaseema region" This shows the injustice done to Telangana region in
only one sector of irrigation. Like wise there are several major sectors
in which injustice done.

from:  Prashant
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 11:42 IST

It will be no different from Tamilnadu-Karnataka river water dispute.

from:  Syed
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 11:42 IST

We telugu people hail late YSR for starting all these irrigation
projects. He had done excellent job of starting Irrigation projects
covering all regions of Andhra Pradesh. even though there is
mismanagement of project estimates, already completed projects are
giving water to lakhs of acres of land. Had Andhra started this projects
much earlier, AP might have got more water allocated by Bachavat

from:  Goutham
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 10:20 IST

This lady has to be congratulated for her eccellent work

from:  Ramachandran.c
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 08:59 IST

People are worrying about losing chances , opportunities, dreams,
development, water,irrigation, finances, investments, and so many
things.. not only one thing... Please correct yourself

from:  Nani
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 04:47 IST

No one write articles on the revenues generated by andhra region and
telangana region for the past 60 years.. How state was developed ...
They dont bother about any other thing.. One more thing: How many
national institutes , defence and research institutes were
established in Hyderabad compared to the other parts of Andhra
pradesh.. We are in a great democratic country. Now, If a student
gets no 1 rank in medical examination, he prefers hyderabad .. if a
student get no 1 rank in engineering , he prefer hyderabad.. top
students lose this chance.. How many students are attending
engineering and medicine colleges in Andhra and many
best institutes were developed by governments in Andhra nad Telangana
Region?? compare.. Now understand who is suffering??? Telangana or
Andhra .. It will take atleast 30 to 50 years for Andhra region to
develop.. So Next generations should suffer Isnt it?? Is this fair

from:  Nani
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 04:43 IST

Moreover, We are living in democratic country(i still believe).. and
the states have their own identity.. not the slaves of central. 70%
of the people are agitating in Seema and Andhra, no national party
considers it.. they dont want to consider their concerns.. Is India
ready to sponsor 2 lakh crores of cash for the development of andhra
capital as par as hyderabad.. Because Andhra industrialists and
andhra people invested a lot in hyderabad to develop as they felt it
is their capital. Dr.Reddy Labs, Aurabindo Pharma, Matrix Pharma,
Infotech enterprises Limited, Satyam Computers, Visual soft,etc.. so
many companies were estrablished when hyderabad is not even in the
world map of development index.. Some one has to start the process.
they started in hyderabad and the development started. NO National
Media consider this. Because our country is democratic country in
which central gocernment can take decisions as dictator. Every one

from:  Nani
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 04:36 IST

Good Article..But half truths to convince indian public ... real fact why
people are agitating in Seema and Andhra regions is due to inequality ,
biased division.. Check official figures of AP revenue from the last 20
years region based.. During development of Hyderabad, they used
agriculture dominated andhra income and now they are ditching andhra
people after hyderabad is made as one of the top IT hubs in India. Why
Central government delayed to offer international airport to vizag.. Why
Recent 2.5 lakh crores investment for developing hyderabad further more??
Why cant they shift this to Andhra region?? Now more than 50% revenue is
coming from hyderabad.. Andhra region population is 63% of total state
population.. Now, you are dividing state . and distributing loans based
on population .. but giving hyderabad to telangana.. How long andhra
takes to develop.. so The people who helped in the development of
hyderabad dont have chance to enjoy the fruits of development.

from:  Nani
Posted on: Oct 5, 2013 at 04:29 IST
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