Telangana govt approaches NGT over Andhra Pradesh’s irrigation project

Hyderabad: The Telangana government has approached the National Green Tribunal to restrain Andhra Pradesh from executing the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) and to seek action against it for contempt.

The government filed a petition in the NGT praying for orders to stop the work on the project and action for wilful violation of the NGT’s judgment dated October 29, 2020.

It requested the NGT to hold physical inspection in view of the “aggravated form of contempt”.

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“Restrain the state of Andhra Pradesh from executing Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme without the prior environmental clearance approvals from the Union Environment Ministry and Union Jal Shakti Ministry and Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) as per Section 84 of A.P. Reorganisation Act, 2014,” reads the petition.

Telangana also sought against SPML Infra Ltd, the agency executing the actual work. The Union Environment and Forest Ministry, Union Jal Shakti Ministry, the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, the KRMB, and the agency executing the work have been made respondents.

Meanwhile, the Telangana government has also written a letter to the KRMB, seeking a meeting of the full board after July 20 instead of the meeting of a three-member committee.

Telangana’s Special Chief Secretary, Irrigation, Rajat Kumar, in his letter to the KRMB Chairman, said it was surprising that the meeting of the three-member committee has been called to discuss only the issues raised by Andhra Pradesh.

He demanded that this meeting be cancelled and a meeting of the full board be convened after July 20 to discuss critical issues raised by Telangana. He sought a discussion on revision of the water sharing ratio of Krishna river waters for current year, steps to stop construction of illegal RLIS and RDS right canal by Andhra Pradesh immediately, steps to stop excess diversion of water by Andhra Pradesh from Pothireddypadu head regulator, and other projects and issues.

Telangana also rejected the demand of Andhra Pradesh to stop power generation from Srisailam reservoir. The official pointed out that project was sanctioned by Planning Commission in 1963 as a hydro-electric project for supplying water to Nagarjuna Sagar project by power generation.

The letter mentioned that water supply systems in Telangana are predominantly dependent on lift irrigation schemes requiring huge energy inputs during the Kharif season. “As such, there is currently a severe power exigency in the state. Further, the process of power generation in Srisailam will ensure the transmission of sufficient waters to Nagarjuna Sagar project which is critical for meeting the needs of agricultural and drinking water requirements of Telangana,” reads the letter.

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