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KCR-Jagan bonhomie hit over water sharing between Telangana and AP

File photo: Telangana Chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his Andhra counterpart Y.S. Jagan Mohan ReddyPremium
File photo: Telangana Chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his Andhra counterpart Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy

KCR, who had promised to work together with AP on issues like water has taken exception to AP’s decision to construct a new project to lift three thousand million cubic feet of water from the Srisailam project, without informing Telangana or the Krishna River Management Board

The issue of water sharing has seemingly ended the political bonhomie between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh chief ministers K. Chandrashekhar Rao and Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

KCR, who had promised to work together with AP on such issues, has taken exception to AP’s decision to construct a new project to lift three thousand million cubic feet of water from the Srisailam project (Krishna river), without informing Telangana or the Krishna River Management Board (constituted by Centre).

It is learnt that irrigation department officials have lodged a formal complaint with the KRMB on the matter, and that a meeting was also held with officials from both states and KMRB officials, said an official from the Telangana irrigation department. The latest rift comes as a surprise given the friendly gestures made from both sides during the 2019 general elections.

In fact, KCR, who heads the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), had talked of having friendly relations between both states last year. “According to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act 2014, any action taken by either states over water distribution has to be first apprised to the KRMB and AP officials. Only after approval from the Central Water Commission can they go ahead with the work," the official added.

Until now, KCR had warmed up to YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) supremo Jagan Mohan Reddy, whose party was the main opposition against the then ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) before the 2019 general and state elections in AP. TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu had made enemies with both the TRS and YSRCP, as he had also joined hands with the Congress to take on KCR.

During the 2019 elections, KCR had even travelled to AP and met Jagan Mohan Reddy, and after the latter became chief minister, they had seemingly maintained good relations. However, it may be noted that after Telangana was carved out of AP and created in 2014 with KCR as its first chief minister, he locked horns with his then AP contemporary Naidu over many bifurcation issues. Water division was a major one among them.

“What is the point of having the KRMB if you don’t take permission before undertaking a project? Even now they are utilising more water than their share from the Srisailam dam. They are asking us to give a higher share based on humanitarian grounds, but what if tomorrow we need it? Perhaps some people in AP are misguiding Jagan," said a senior TRS leader, who did not want to be quoted.

Out of the total 811 thousand metric cubic feet (TMC) of water in the Srisailam dam, 299 TMC has been allocated for Telangana’s projects, while the rest is for AP. However, not satisfied with it, the Telangana government had approached the Brijesh Kumar disputes tribunal, where the matter is still pending. Officials from the AP irrigation department however did not want to comment on the issue.

Over the last six years, both AP and Telangana have been bickering over the issue of water sharing over allocation from both the Krishna and Godavari rivers. There are periodical meetings held between officials from both sides. A YSRCP representative, who did not want to be quoted, however said that this issue has not changed the relationship between Jagan Mohan Reddy and KCR.

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