‘TS won’t accept Godavari-Cauvery interlinking till its rights are established’

Harish Rao blames Congress, BJP, Centre for delay in completion of projects

March 14, 2022 08:27 pm | Updated 08:28 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Minister for Finance and Health T. Harish Rao, who replied to the debate on demands for grants pertaining to Irrigation department in the Assembly on Monday on behalf of the Chief Minister, stated that Telangana would not accept interlinking of Godavari-Penna-Cauvery until rights of Telangana in river waters were established first and clearances were given to projects.

He sought to know why the Centre was sitting over clearance to several projects of Telangana, if surplus water was available in Godavari, as assessed by the Centre. “We won’t accept the interlinking project, unless our water allocations are finalised,” he made it clear.

On the Telangana’s share in Krishna waters, he said Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had met the then Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati within a month after the State formation with a plea under Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, as per which such pleas had to be referred to a tribunal.

However, as it was done for long, the State moved the Supreme Court and after the Centre’s assurance at the October 2020 Apex Council meet Telangana had withdrawn the petition. “It’s six months now, but the Centre is yet to refer the matter to a tribunal so far,” Mr. Harish Rao pointed out.

He alleged that the Centre had also discriminated against Telangana in the matter of according national status to an irrigation project, particularly Palamuru-Rangareddy. However, even after stating that there was no policy to give the status further after Polavaram, the Centre had recognised Ken-Betwa and Upper Bhadra project as national projects, while keeping quiet on Palamuru-Rangareddy.

Mr. Harish Rao hit back strongly at the Congress and the BJP and blamed them for the delays in completion of several irrigation projects by filing petitions in courts, writing letters and creating other hurdles. He alleged that Congress leaders of Telangana remained mute spectators to the exploitation of river water share and funds by the Seemandhra leaders in the combined State and helped denial of the rightful share to Telangana people.

Explaining why the government had to go for re-engineering and redesigning of projects, the Minister stated that it was done purely to rectify the mistakes committed by the previous Congress government. He cited the example of Pranahitha-Chevella project in detail as why it had to be redesigned as Kaleshwaram and also Indirasagar-Rajivsagar as Sitarama project.

On the claims of Congress members that many projects in combined Mahabubnagar were completed till 90% during their regime itself, the Minister sought to know if that was the case why water was not given even to 50% of the planned ayacut by them. After completion of works by Telangana government, 10 lakh acres was getting irrigated now leading to reverse migration of people.

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