Former Minister Mandali Buddha Prasad said on Thursday that the Srikrishna Committee report absolved the people of coastal Andhra of the charge of “water thieves” that was often levelled against them.

Talking to The Hindu, he said that the report revealed that there had been a 713 per cent increase in the ayacut covered under medium and major irrigation projects in Telangana region as compared to the 390 per cent increase in Rayalaseema and 101 per cent in coastal Andhra. The fundamental argument propounded for a separate Telangana was totally flawed according to this, he said.

The Srikrishna Committee also revealed that the area under multiple-irrigation in Rayalaseema had come down to 30 per cent in 1955-56 and to a mere 22 per cent in 1975. The area under multiple-irrigation in Telangana had increased to 18 per cent in 1955-56 and to 50 per cent in 1975. In coastal Andhra the area covered by multiple-irrigation was just 13 per cent, he said.

The Committee also shot down all the arguments propounded by the leaders of Telangana for the shelving of the Polavaram project. The Committee said that the State would develop if the Polavaram project was completed, Mr. Buddha Prasad said.