Andhra Pradesh

AP: Certain aspects in Centre’s notification need to be fine-tuned

VIJAYAWADA: Now that the Centre has finally drawn curtains on a long-pending issue of notifying the jurisdictions of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB). Will the “complete hand over” of all major and medium projects in Krishna and Godavari basins to the autonomous boards that will be under the administrative control of the Centre resolve all the problems between both the Telugu States, which have virtually been at war over water sharing?

What does the notifying river management boards’ jurisdiction mean for the projects planned by Andhra Pradesh “to tap and utilise its rightful share of water”, particularly in Krishna basin?
These are the two pertinent questions that have come to the fore as the Centre published the notifications in the gazette in the dead of night on Thursday. While the Telangana government seemed to be discontent with the development, the AP government welcomed it but with riders.

“We welcome the Centre’s decision, which has been long overdue, and we believe that we will be able to tap and utilise our rightful share of water with the help of boards. However, there are certain aspects in the notification that need fine-tuning. We will take it up with the Government of India and get them rectified,” said Andhra Pradesh Water Resources Secretary J Syamala Rao on Friday.

In all, 36 projects in the Krishna basin and 71 projects in the Godavari basin in both the States, including all major and medium projects along with their canals and distributaries, will be under the control of KRMB and GRMB respectively from October 14 as per the MoJS notification.

AP’s Srisailam, Pothireddypadu, Banakacherla Complex, Veligonda, Telugu Ganga, Handri Neeva, Galeru Nagari, Nagarjuna Sagar and its canals, Tungabhadra, Pulichintala, Polavaram, including hydel project, Pattiseema, Tadipudi and other LIS, which are under Schedule II of the central notifications, will be completely under the control of KRMB and GRMB.

The provisions that need fine-tuning, according to the AP government, are that certain projects outside the river basins were also included in the boards’ jurisdiction. “Our view is that jurisdiction is necessary to ensure that the States don’t draw more than their allocated quota. But some projects which are not related to Telangana such as Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage in Godavari basin and Prakasam Barrage in the Krishna basin were also included, which is unnecessary. So, we will take up such issues with the Centre,” the Secretary said.

Interestingly, Veligonda project, which was a part of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, has been categorised as ‘unapproved’ by the Centre in the notification. The Secretary said that it could have been because the project name was misspelt in the Act and that they would seek rectification of the same. In the 11th Schedule of APRA, Veligonda was recorded as Venegondu.

Some other apprehensions aired by the State officials include the immediate road ahead, which may be a bumpy one, especially during the transition of power from States to the boards, and later with respect to getting the “unapproved” projects cleared. “We will have to see how the boards, especially KRMB under whose control the major reservoirs of AP and TS would be, regulate them since all outlets of major reservoirs, canals, branch canals and distributary network will be taken over,” a senior official told .

Another official pointed out that getting approval for the proposed project, which as it is a long drawn process, may take even longer. The Centre, in its notification, noted that AP’s Telugu Ganga canal headworks, Veligonda head regulator, tunnels and Nallamala Sagar, Handri Neeva pump house, Galeru Nagari headworks, Siddapuram lift irrigation scheme (LIS), Guru Raghavendra LIS, Vempadu 21st branch canal link and Vedavati LIS in Krishna basin, and Pattiseema LIS, Purushottapatnam LIS, Chintalapudi LIS and LIS at Venkatanagaram in Godavari basin were unapproved.

The Centre has given six months from July 15 for the States to get the approval for the projects, failing which the projects will cease to operate. Since Telugu Ganga, Handri Neeva and Galeru Nagari were recorded in the 11 Schedule of the APRA, they don’t need fresh permissions. Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme has not even made to the list of schedules.

Sajjala gives credit to CM for notification
Government advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy welcomed the notification on KRMB and GRMB. He gave the credit for the notification to the efforts of CM Jagan. Had both the boards been notified during bifurcation itself, PRLIS might not have taken shape, Sajjala said.

Two boards, three schedules

36 Krishna and 71 Godavari projects will be taken over by the two boards, which divided them into three schedules

Projects in Schedule I are those on which KRMB and GRMB will “ordinarily” have jurisdiction

Schedule II projects are those over which the respective boards shall have jurisdiction and perform the functions such as administration, operation, maintenance and regulation

Schedule III projects will also be under jurisdictions of KRMB and GRMB, but the functions shall be performed by the respective States on behalf of the boards as per their directions

Projects which were not approved by the boards, those which were not approved by the advisory panel or CWC, and those approved but whose scope was changed are unapproved ones