Bajaj panel gets a feel of serious water rows

THRASHING IT OUT: Chairman ofthe expert committee, A.K. Bajaj, at a meeting with the officials of Telangana and A.P. in Hyderabad on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The expert Central committee that had toured Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the last three days to study disputes between the two States on utilisation of Krishna water left for New Delhi on Wednesday, convinced that the disputes were not so easy to resolve. The issues were back to square one as both States stuck to their stands before the panel.

Divergent views

The committee headed by A.K. Bajaj, a former chairman of the Central Water Commission, told a brief wrap-up meeting of officials of the two States at the irrigation headquarters of the Telangana government here on Wednesday that they had initially expected to thrash out the differences easily. But, it was not to be as both governments held widely divergent views, sources said.

The committee had met the irrigation officials of Telangana separately here on Monday and those of A.P. in Vijayawada on Tuesday. It also met the Chief Ministers of both the States. It was deputed by the Ministry of Water Resources to suggest a mechanism for making the Krishna River Management Board discharge its duties as per the States Reorganisation Act.

Quoting Mr. Bajaj, the sources said the committee would have to take a detailed look at the issues raised by the States. It would come back next month after perusing the data.

Briefing reporters later, Mr. Bajaj said the issues were not intricate if both States cooperated. He said the States had presented their stakes on diversion of Godavari water to Krishna basin, but the allocation of water to compensate for inter-basin transfer should be done by the water disputes tribunal. If the Ministry asked the committee to arbitrate, the latter would make a temporary arrangement.

Complaint to be lodged

Meanwhile, the silence of the committee on its demand for compensating diversion by A.P. of Godavari water to the Krishna basin through the Pattiseema project irked the Telangana government. Its Advisor on irrigation R. Vidyasagar Rao told reporters that he would lodge a complaint with the Secretary of the Ministry in New Delhi on Friday. He said the Ministry had been telling the Telangana government that the committee would consider its demand for 78.2 tmc ft water in Krishna for diversion by A.P. not only from Pattiseema but Polavaram. But, the committee did not speak a word though the demand was one of the terms of reference made to it by an official communication.

He expressed anger that the committee was mandated to arbitrarily fix water share for two States from common reservoirs on the Krishna, pending the decision of the tribunal which might take years. He recalled that the committee had admitted it was mandated to fix the shares on Monday but spoke differently after touring Vijayawada.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 7:15:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/Bajaj-panel-gets-a-feel-of-serious-water-rows/article17309137.ece

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