Special Correspondent

TDP unyielding in its demand that government withdraw the order

HYDERABAD: The supply of water from the Mylavaram reservoir to Bramhani Steels at the cost of Rayalaseema Thermal Power Station (RTPS) at Muddanur in Kadapa district rocked the Assembly, leading to its adjournment for the day on Wednesday. The TDP, which raised the issue during question hour, was unyielding in its demand that the government withdraw the order and issue a fresh one to allocate water to RTPS from Mylavaram to meet its expansion requirements.

Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Laxmaiah assured the agitated members that the power station would be given water from the Brahmasagar reservoir next month when a pipeline for the purpose would be completed. However, the TDP wanted water to the project only from Mylavaram as it would be more cost-effective than Brahmasagar, 68 km away. It would save Rs. 165 crore on the pipeline.

Ponnala explains

The Minister maintained that water allocation to RTPS for additional generation was planned from Brahmasagar as Mylavaram never received inflows over three tmcft in any year. RTPS needed 3.30 tmcft for its operations at the present level and another 2 tmcft for its two upcoming units. At the present level of generation, the requirement of RTPS was met both by Mylavaram and Brahmasagar, he added.

Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu argued that there was adequate water in Mylavaram for additional generation by RTPS. However, the government allocated assured water to Bramhani Steels from this tank as the former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's son Jaganmohan Reddy was its director. This was refuted by Mr. Laxmaiah saying the Government Order was clear that Brahmani Steels would get two tmcft water from Gandikota reservoir via Mylavaram.

At a press conference later, Mr. Naidu said it was strange that the government was making a public sector utility spend public money to the tune of Rs.550 crore to get water from 68 km away just to enable a private factory to draw water from a nearby source.

He criticised Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy for using harsh language against the TDP members. “It is for the people to judge us and not the Speaker, whose responsibility was to facilitate a debate.”