ANDHRA PRADESH

Power generation suspended at Srisailam

Hyderabad Aug. 26. Power generation at the Srisailam project came to an abrupt halt this morning following orders to that effect by the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, in compliance with a commitment given by him to Ministers and elected representatives of Kurnool and Cuddapah districts.

This resulted in the grid losing 2 to 3 million units which would have been available during peak period.

The issue of power generation at Srisailam allegedly "at the cost of Rayalaseema farmer'' figured at an all-party meeting of elected representatives convened by the Chief Minister at his residence this evening at which it was complained that the AP Genco-AP Transco did not comply with his order issued yesterday itself and continued with generation today also, "wasting 12,000 cusecs.'' Mr. Naidu pacified them, saying it might be due to "a communication gap.''

At the one-hour meeting, attended by the Ministers belonging to the two districts -- K. Srihari, K. E. Prabhakar, Mohd N. Farooq, B. V. Mohan Reddy and S. Saraswathi -- Mr. Chandrababu Naidu reiterated his commitment not to make any Srisailam releases benefiting Nagarjunasagar up to September 15 and instead build up the storage in Srisailam itself up to 854 ft, the level at which drawal into the Rayalaseema projects is possible.

By evening the level in the Srisailam reservoir had gone up to 817 ft.

The Chief Minister, according to a press briefing later by Mr. Srihari, also promised to withdraw, if possible, GO No 69 of 1996 after an examination of the issue in its totality. MLAs/MPs and leaders of the Congress, Telugu Desam, BJP and Communist parties demanded the withdrawal on the ground that it had prescribed the minimum storage to be maintained in the reservoir only up to 834 ft and wanted it upgraded to 854 ft. The leaders, especially those of non-Telugu Desam parties led by M. V. Mysoora Reddy of the Congress, charged that the Government was "committing the fatal blunder'' of emptying even the "dead storage'' and had this not been done last year, the storage would have easily reached 854 ft by now.

The implication of the decision for impounding in Srisailam up to 854 ft is that the Pothireddypady head-regulator will be able to get releases for feeding Rayalaseema proejcts such as K.C. Canal, Telugu Ganga and Srisailam Right Bank Canal, all serving an ayacut of about 5 lakh acres.

In a rare show of unity, elected representatives of the Congress, the BJP, the Telugu Desam and the Left parties voiced concern over the "injustice'' done to Rayalaseema and demanded the storage in Srisailam up to 854 ft without sparing any quantum either for Nagarjunasagar or power generation, and immediate withdrawal of the GO. Congress and BJP members, however, threatened to launch an agitation if no solution came out by September 15.

The BJP was represented by A. Hanumantha Reddy and M. Tulasi Reddy, both executive members, and the CPI by G. Obulesu, general secretary for Cuddapah. Among those present from the Telugu Desam were B. Nagi Reddy, MP, his wife and RTC chairperson, B. Shoba, S. Raghurama Reddy, MLA, and others included G. Pratap Reddy, ex-MP.

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