BJP to submit objections on river board jurisdiction to Centre

Aim is to prevent escalation of tensions between A.P. and Telangana, says Somu Veerraju

A report listing objections raised by experts regarding the jurisdictions of the Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards as laid down in a recent gazette notification would be submitted to the Union Ministry of Water Resources on Wednesday, BJP’s State president Somu Veerraju said on Monday.

The report is being submitted to ensure that the disputes between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over water sharing do not escalate again, Mr. Veerraju said.

“The BJP is in favour of construction of irrigation projects that are non-controversial and by linking various rivers. Political parties should refrain from politicising the disputes over sharing of river waters, lest the people, particularly farmers, face problems in the future,” Mr. Veerraju said at a roundtable on ‘Water Resources and Challenges’ here on Monday.

The BJP leader said the party would also constitute a working group to undertake a comprehensive study of the projects on Krishna and Godavari rivers so that it can offer suggestions on the sharing of water by upper and lower riparian States.

He asserted that the gazette notification on KRMB and GRMB would facilitate an amicable settlement of the disputes between A.P. and Telangana and that it would do justice to Rayalaseema and the coastal districts.

“Bringing of projects on the Krishna and Godavari rivers under the purview of the respective boards would prevent illegal withdrawals of water by the neighbouring States,” Mr. Veerraju affirmed.

On Polavaram

Mr. Veerraju criticised the State government for allegedly neglecting the thousands of families facing displacement by the Polavaram project. He expressed regret that they were forced to live in unclean shelters without electricity and drinking water facilities due to the government’s alleged failure in properly implementing the Relief and Rehabilitation package.

“The government is obsessed with the Polavaram project while projects like Handri-Neeva, Velugonda, Telugu Ganga, Vamsadhara, Thotapalli, Nagavali and Bahuda remain incomplete several decades after their commencement,” Mr. Veerraju alleged.

Retired chief engineer U. Narayana Raju said the Polavaram project was crucial for meeting the drinking water requirements of the people of Visakhapatnam, and observed that Telangana was making wrong claims on the catchment areas of some rivers.

Former MLA Byreddi Rajasekhara Reddy said Rayalaseema would be saved only if a minimum water level of 854 feet was maintained in the Srisailam project, and questioned how the government proceeded with the Rayalaseema lift irrigation scheme without having a reservoir component in it. The Tungabhadra river was the lifeline of Rayalaseema, he added.

BJP State party affairs co in-charge Sunil Deodhar, general secretary S. Vishnuvardhan Reddy, MLCs P.V.N. Madhav and Vakati Narayana Reddy, former Minister Ch. Adinarayana Reddy, and Rayalaseema Neeti Sadhana Samiti president Dasaradharami Reddy attended the roundtable.

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