TS agrees to MoU for Godavari, Cauvery link via Krishna, Penna

TS seeks higher share of water; project based on unutilised Godavari water

Hyderabad: In a major development, the Telangana government on Friday agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) along with other states to facilitate the Centre for the implementation of Godavari-Krishna-Penna-Cauvery rivers (G-K-P-C) link project.

However, the TS government sought a higher share of water after the implementation of this project.

The meeting of the "Task Force on Interlinking of Rivers" (TF-ILR) to discuss on interlinking of rivers was held in the city which was chaired by Sriram Vedire, chairman of the task force and attended by Central Water Commission chairman Kushvinder Vohar, Director General of National Water Development Agency (NWDA) Bhopal Singh and officials of 10 member States and irrigation experts.

The Telangana government which opposed this linking project all these years finally changed its stance stating that have no objection to the proposed link as long as the water allocated to the state by the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal is not tapped.

Engineer-in-Chief C. Muralidhar, who represented TS government in the meeting also sought a higher share to Telangana than what was being proposed.

Of the 4,189 million cubic metre (about 148 tmc ft) of Godavari water proposed to be diverted through the project, about 44 tmc ft (1,250 mcm) each has been earmarked for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, about 16 tmc ft (450 mcm) to Karnataka and 41 tmc ft (1,150 mcm) to Tamil Nadu to improve irrigation facilities with the help of micro irrigation systems.

Telangana also sought minimising the land acquisition to ensure the smooth process for canals of the link project and also to locate the source point a little upstream of the presently proposed Ichampalli to ensure that it did not fall under the backwaters of Sammakka-Sarakka Barrage at Kanthanapally.

Vedire clarified that the proposed link project would not even utilise the surplus waters in Godavari as studies conducted by the CWC had found no surplus water availability in the river basin.

"The water contemplated to be utilised for the link project are out of the unutilised share in the upstream states such as Chhattisgarh as they are unable to use it due to their topographical and geographical conditions," he said.

Referring to the Telangana's demand for higher share of water, he said the NWDA would look into the matter and discuss it with all the stakeholders.

He explained that only 400 hectares of land would be required for the first-phase of the project and best compensation package would be worked out and the NWDA team would also look into the issue of source points falling into Sammakka-Sarakka Barrage backwaters.

Officials from Andhra Pradesh suggested to the task force again that Polavaram could be considered as the location of source point as an alternative to Ichampalli and suggested NDWA studies to supply water to the new ayacut under Nagarjunasagar and Somasila with the water drawn from the link project.

Karnataka did not contemplate any utilisation under the link project earlier but it made requests later. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala extended support to the link. It reviewed implementation issues of Ken-Betwa link project.

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