With the two Telugu States at loggerheads over the issue of utilising the Krishna and Godavari waters, and each shooting letters against another and lodging complaints with the respective river boards, the Centre has decided to convene the Apex Council meeting soon.
A communication to this effect was sent to the Secretaries of the Water Resources / Irrigation Departments of the two States by the Ministry of Jal Shakti on Thursday.
The meeting became a certainty after the two States complained against each other in the respective river boards and Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat asking the Water Resources Department to convene a meeting of the Apex Council at the earliest.
In a letter addressed to BJP Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay last week, in response to his letter seeking the Centre’s intervention in the matter of A.P.’s plans to divert 8 tmc ft of Krishna water every day from Srisailam, Mr. Shekhawat not only assured to convene the Apex Council meeting but also asked the KRMB to convene a meeting “immediately.”
Technical panel meet
Ahead of the meeting, a three-member technical committee is expected to meet here on Friday to discuss water utilisation by the two States during the current water year concluding by the month-end.
In a separate communication to Special Chief Secretary of Water Resources, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Principal Secretary of Irrigation in Telangana, Under Secretary in the Water Resources Department of the Jal Shakti Ministry A.C. Mallick said: “As directed to convey, the next meeting of Apex Council constituted under the A.P. Reorganisation Act is likely to be convened shortly under the Chairmanship of Minister for Jal Shakti and Chief Ministers of A.P. and Telangana.”
The communication also pointed that the two States were yet to submit agenda points to discuss various issues of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) at the Apex Council meeting, as agreed upon at a meeting held by the Union Water Resources Secretary on January 21 this year.
In the wake of the Ministry’s decision to convene the Apex Council meeting soon, the two States have been asked, once again, to send agenda points for the meeting on priority basis.
“Due for long, the issue of working manual for the two river boards, which is yet to be finalised, is also expected to figure at the Apex Council meet to give more role clarity to the governing bodies, including taking swift decisions on installing water drawal quantity measuring equipment (telemetry) at all points of drawal in major projects, particularly the two common reservoirs – Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar – of the two States in the basin,” a senior Telangana official said.
After its constitution, the Apex Council meeting was held only once so far on September 21, 2016, without arriving at any consensus on the projects being taken up by the two States.