Hyderabad: Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states are not going to oppose the Central government's recent proposal of the Godavari-Cauvery river link scheme. However, they would like to put some conditions on its implementation.
Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari has convened a meeting of irrigation ministers of states in Delhi on Wednesday. It will be attended by irrigation ministers T. Harish Rao (Telangana) and Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao (Andhra Pradesh) along with officials of the respective irrigation departments.
Hitherto both states have been against interlinking of rivers in the southern region on the plea that there will be hardly any surplus water in the Godavari once all the existing and proposed irrigation projects on the Godavari are completed.
This was the stand taken by both the states when Uma Bharati was the Union minister. However, Mr Gadkari has convinced both governments that the Centre will not harm their interests or their rights over the Godavari and Krishna river waters, but he wants to take up the inter-linking scheme with 90 per cent of the expense being borne by the Centre and only 10 per cent borne by the concerned state government.
“We will convey to the Centre that we are not against the proposed scheme, but we will insist that surplus water in the Godavari at the Akinep-alli site is to be established by the Centre only after taking into account all the water requirements of Telangana state,” said TS engineer-in-chief C. Muralidhar.
“We have to look into the technical details of the proposed inter-linking system and then only will the AP government give its consent. Per se we are not against inter-linking of rivers as we have been implementing it already,” said AP irrigation minister Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao.
Sources say that Mr Gadkari wants the scheme to be launched soon with an eye on the ensuing Assembly elections in Karnataka and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections both in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The agenda note for Wednesday’s meeting states that the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) had originally drafted a plan for the nine-link system — Mahanadi-Godavari link, Inchampalli-Nagarjuna Sagar link, Inchampalli-Pulichintala link, Pola-varam-Vijayawada link, Almatti-Penna link, Srisa-ilam-Penna link, Nagar-juna Sagar-Somasila Dam link, Somasila Dam-Grand Anicut link, 9. Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundar link.
However, this proposal got nowhere because the surplus waters in the Mahanadi basin could not be finalised and also because the Inchampalli dam was not ready.
NWDA now proposes to implement the nine link system in two phases.
In Phase-1 unutilised waters from the Indravati (a tributary of the Goda-vari) will be transfer-red to the Cauvery basin through three links — the Indravati-Godavari (Aknepalli site in Kottag-udem-Bhadrachalam district of Telangana State); Krishna (Nagarjuna Sagar) link; Krishna (NS Dam); Pennar (Somasila Dam) link; and Pennar (Somasila)-Cauvery (Grand Anicut).
Surplus waters will be lifted from the Akinepalli barrage downstream of Inchampalli on the river Godavari and transferred to the existing Nagarjuna sagar Dam in the Krishna basin and from there the water will be further transferred to Somasila Dam in Pennar basin and to the Grand Anicut in the Cauvery basin.
About 700 TMC ft of water can be thus transferred. After arriving at a consensus, a detailed project report of Phase-1 will be drawn up. In Phase-2, the water from Polavaram Dam will be transferred to Pennar Basin (as proposed by AP) and further to the Cauvery basin.