TS irrigation minister T. Harish Rao, AP water resources minister Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao and Union minister Nitin Gadkar prepare to discuss interlinking of rivers, in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Hyderabad: Making its policy on interlinking of rivers clear, the Telangana state government on Tuesday said that in basin inhabitants of riparian states should be given priority and the needs of those people living outside the basin limits may be considered only after the needs of in-basin areas are fully met.
Irrigation minister T. Harish Rao, participating in the National Water Development Agency annual general body meeting held in New Delhi on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari, put forth two conditions for accepting the interlinking of rivers.
He said all the requirements of riparian states had to be met first before the water is transferred to the basin of any other river.
“These two tenets are sacrosanct and must be observed while planning interlinking of rivers in the country,” Mr Harish Rao said, assuring the support of the TS government to the proposal, provided these two conditions were met.
Mr Harish Rao suggested the Mahanadi-Godavari interlinking be taken up first before work on the Godavari-Krishna link begins, since assessment of the true yield of Godavari at various dependent points and impact on the ongoing projects was incomplete. He said that this was likely to take time and therefore the Mahanadi-Godavari sub-link should be taken up first.
Meanwhile, AP water resources minister Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao informed the meeting that the AP government had successfully linked Godavari and Krishna rivers in 2015 through the Pattiseema lift scheme in a record time of less than one year.
He said that by diverting floodwater into the deficit Krishna river, the state government was able to save crops worth `8,000 crore in the Krishna delta during the last two kharif seasons.
Mr Uma Maheswara Rao said that interlinking of rivers was quite advisable and was the need of the hour. He said AP was also facing a situation where hundreds of tmc ft of water is going waste into the sea from the Godavari, while other parts of the state, especially Rayalaseema districts, were facing severe water shortage.
The minister said that the AP government was further planning to link other rivers flowing within the state. He also invited the Union water resources minister to visit the ongoing projects and other innovative activities being implemented in AP.
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