VIJAYAWADA: The stage is set for the Southern Zonal Council (SZC) meeting in the temple town of Tirupati on Sunday. The southern States will discuss inter-state and State-Centre issues in the SZC meeting. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who will chair the SZC meeting, arrived in Tirupati on Saturday night. He was accorded a warm welcome by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Later, Shah and Jagan visited Tirumala and offered prayers at Sri Venkateswara temple.
Jagan, who is the vice-chairman of Southern Zonal Council, is likely to raise the issue of water sharing with neighbouring Telangana in the meeting as the two Telugu States have been at loggerheads over the construction of alleged unauthorised projects on Krishna and Godavari, river water sharing and generation of power from common reservoirs.
AP seeks release of Rs 6,015 crore dues, to be paid by power utilities of Telangana, towards the cost of power supplied after the State bifurcation in June, 2014 and the issue is likely to be raised in the SZC meeting.With regard to issues with other States, AP is likely to raise reimbursement of Rs 338 crore by Tamil Nadu towards its share of expenditure for Telugu Ganga project pertaining to the supply of drinking water to Chennai city, in the zonal council meeting.
With respect to issues involving the Centre, the host State is likely to raise the issue of non-fulfilment of several assurances made to Andhra Pradesh as per the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, including release of funds for the Polavaram Irrigation Project, which was declared a national project.The SZC is a platform for the States to have a high-level advisory forum to minimise the impact of differences among the States and to create a healthy inter-state and Centre-State environment to promote balanced socio-economic development.
There are five zonal councils in the country. Each zonal council has set up a standing committee consisting of Chief Secretaries of the member States. Chief Ministers of AP, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Puducherry and Lieutenant Governors of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Administrator of Lakshadweep will participate in the SZC meeting on Sunday.
Tight security blanket thrown around Tirupati
Elaborate arrangements have been made for the meeting. A tight security blanket has been thrown around the temple town. DGP Gautam Sawang reviewed security arrangements with senior police officials in Tirupati on Saturday. As per the meeting schedule, each Chief Minister will have five minutes time to speak. Later, the agenda will be taken up for discussion.Shah will return to New Delhi on Monday night. He is likely to meet State BJP leaders to discuss the present political situation in AP.