A.P. seeks to clear air on Palar

Special Correspondent

Irrigation Secretary says the project is still in the conceptual stage

HYDERABAD: The project across the Palar river at Kondarevu in the Kuppam area of Chittoor district, which the Tamil Nadu Government talked of recently, has not been taken up and it is "still at conceptual stage, that too at the district level."

A project based on any water body, especially an inter-State river, needs Government clearance of the comtemplated structural design and intended water utilisation. "But, in the case of the reservoir project over the Palar, as stated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalithaa as having been taken up by Andhra Pradesh, no proposal has come to the Government so far", said C.V.S.K. Sarma, Principal Secretary, Irrigation.

The feedback received by the Government from officials in Chittoor district was that they had not even commenced investigation and survey work, a pre-requisite for any project, let alone construction. Officials here, however, admit that the Government will have to necessarily take the consent of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka if a project is to be implemented with the Palar as the source. Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy is likely to address a letter shortly to Ms. Jayalalitaa making these points clear.

Inter-State agreement

Officials said the Palar was an inter-State river, originating in Karnataka and flowing through both Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

An inter-State agreement signed by the composite Madras State (of which Andhra was a part) and the erstwhile Mysore Government covered not only Palar, but also 14 other streams in the area. The Palar figures in the Schedule "A" of the agreement, according to which consent of other riparian States was a must if any State wants to take up a project, they added. The Palar is a rivulet serving not only the Kuppam constituency in Andhra Pradesh but also Vellore, Kancheepuram and Chennai (rural) districts in Tamil Nadu. Construction of a dam to store two tmcft was ruled out on the Palar because the annual inflows at 75 per cent dependability were "very meagre". "However, a check-dam is possible, but even this can't be executed at local level and needs Andhra Pradesh Government's sanction and consent from two other States."

Tirupati Special Correspondent adds: The issue has already assumed political and inter-state ramifications given the fact that the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), which is a strong orce to reckon with in Vellore, Gudiyaththam, Kancheepuram,Chengalpat and other areas across which the Palar river flows, has already taken to streets to stall the project.

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