M. Malleswara Rao
T.N. government’s objection fails to deter State
HYDERABAD: Notwithstanding the objection raised by Tamil Nadu, the State government here on Thursday decided to go ahead with the construction of the project across the Palar river at Ganeshpuram in Kuppam mandal of Chittoor district.
A “conclusive stand” to this effect has been taken by the government as the Supreme Court did not issue any interim order on Tamil Nadu’s plea to stop the project, sources said. Instead, the court had proposed to the Centre to settle the dispute amicably. So far, the Centre has not convened any meeting of the officials of the two States.
Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy gave the go-ahead for the project after discussions with Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah in the wake of a recent statement by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi that Andhra Pradesh had commenced work on the dam. State government officials maintain that the project does not involve impounding any large quantity of water. For that matter, the availability of water in the Palar is not heavy and the project planned by Andhra Pradesh too is not large.
The row, however, threatens to undermine the good neighbourly relations between the two States otherwise, especially in supply of water of Krishna water to Chennai through Telugu Ganga project.
The project, cost of which has been revised to Rs. 55 crore, envisages construction of a check-dam-like structure at Ganeshpuram, just four km from the Andhra Pradesh - Tamil Nadu border. It is planned to use 0.2 thousand million cubic ft (tmcft) of water, a quantity not even equal to a fourth of Himayathsagar, one of several sources of drinking water supply to Hyderabad. It will irrigate about 4,000 acres and supply drinking water to villages around, official sources said.
Speaking to this correspondent, a senior Irrigation official said it was not true that construction of the dam had begun. Only some work related to structures needed to transport water had begun. Tamil Nadu’s objection to construction of the project is that it will deprive Salem area of its only drinking water source.