Apex Council meet on Andhra-Telangana water dispute postponed

Hyderabad, Aug 23 (IANS) The Apex Council meeting scheduled on August 25 to sort out the differences between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over the sharing of Krishna and Godavari river waters has been postponed again.

The Union Water Resources Ministry on Sunday informed the governments of both the Telugu states about the postponement.

The meeting was postponed as Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, tested positive for Covid-19. The Minister had tweeted on August 20 that he had tested positive and was admitted to a hospital.

The Minister is the Chairman of Apex Council formed under Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014. The Chief Ministers of the Telugu states are members of the Council.

As per the information earlier received by both the states, Shekhawat was scheduled to conduct the meeting through videoconference on August 25.

It had assumed significance in view of the objections raised by Telangana over Andhra Pradesh going ahead with the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) across Krishna river. Telangana has been stating that the project would adversely affect its interests.

Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, had raised objections to six irrigation projects or schemes, including the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme, taken up by Telangana on the Godavari river.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao stated last week that the state will be taking a tough stand over Andhra Pradesh’s objections to the projects across Krishna and Godavari rivers while seeking a halt to the RLIS.

Welcoming the Centre’s decision to hold Apex Council meeting on August 25, Rao had said all the disputes and doubts expressed by the Andhra government and the Centre on sharing of river waters will be clarified and cleared.

He asked the officials to take Andhra government to task for illegally utilising water from Godavari and Krishna rivers in contravention of the Bachawat Tribunal Award.

In separate letters to the two Chief Ministers earlier this month, Shekhawat had urged them not to proceed with the projects being objected to by each other.

Jagan Mohan Reddy in his response to Shekhawat had said that RLIS is “not a new project” and it will not affect the water needs of Telangana.

He said Andhra Pradesh was drawing only the share allocated to the state by the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT).

The Apex Council meeting was earlier scheduled on August 5 but was postponed on the request of Telangana government.

Telangana had also dubbed as ‘funny’ the working of the Water Resources Ministry in finding a solution to the water disputes between the two states.

A meeting chaired by Rao decided not to lose even a single drop of water and resolved that the state government was ready to fight for its rights to any extent.

The meeting condemned the way the Central Water Resources Ministry was turning a “deaf ear” to the Telangana government’s requests.

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