Sunday, July 14, 2024

AP ups ante in flaying TS projects

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A day after KCR unveiled plans for BRS’ expansion in AP

PNS | Hyderabad

The stridency in AP’s criticism of Telangana’s projects increased perceptibly a day after TS Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao unveiled the AP component of his pan-India BRS plans.Virtually throwing cold water on BRS’ expansion plans in Andhra Pradesh, which included KCR’s call to people there to bless BRS’ ‘yagna for change’ and his promise that BRS would ‘nationalise’ Visakhapatnam Steel Plan should it be privatised by the Modi government, top officials of the two Telugu states had a heated exchange at the crucial meeting of the Godavari River Management Board on Tuesday amid fresh charges that AP’s feelings had been ignored by TS in the inter-state dispute.

The 14th meeting of the GRMB lasted two hours and was chaired by Chairman MK Sinha on Tuesday.Telangana Irrigation Secretary Rajat Kumar said, “The Andhra side had already raised objections. Every project has a general objection from AP which says water availability in the Godavari has to be studied. For that Director CWC also participated and gave the clarification that there is surplus water. We are giving water to Telangana without any impact on Andhra. He gave clarifications.”

AP’s case is that there is no water and it sought to know why approvals are being made for lifts of Kadem-Gudem. But their objections were not considered. Andhra Pradesh underlined that even a person who is being hanged will be given a last chance to defend himself, but that was not the case at the GRMB meeting.

AP ENC Narayan Reddy said: “In any project, co-basin states should be given an opportunity and their concerns addressed; and only then the matter should be considered. Until the last minute, on behalf of the AP government, we raised our concerns about the impact on the existing Godavari delta and Polavaram projects. Instead of giving us an opportunity, they did not even go on a technical basis or at least follow natural justice.

Even a person who is about to be hanged will be given a final appeal. But they didn’t give us such a chance.Telangana said they will build Kadem-Gudem or Moodikunta projects and a couple of lifts. DPR Kadem has self-catchment of 17 to 13 TMC water. If they want to lift 12 TMC, which is already theirs in the catchment, why do they need additional lifts? It is a duplication and a wastage of public money. We won’t agree to it.”

Meanwhile, a decision was taken to set up telemetry stations at five interstate points.
An Andhra Pradesh official said: “We said 100 stations to be studied with a sub-committee, CWC, TS, AP and GRMB. In all, 23 proposals were taken, and one thing has been recommended. TS government said only five interstate points for telemetry. We didn’t agree to it because comprehensive data collection is needed so that we can plan the next feature, run, availability, and future planning. With piecemeal information, we cannot do anything.”

“We requested the GRMB to speed up project approvals as project delays, clarifications and permissions are waiting for 1-1.5 to 2 years now. This needs to be done quickly because one of the major issues is cost escalation. We submitted DPR in 2021 September, but now it is 2023. The cost escalation has gone up by 10-15% and if the land acquisition cost is added, the cost will go up to 20-25%.The GST has also increased. There will be a revised estimate. They have appreciated and I hope we get TAC clearances also soon,” Rajat Kumar said.

Telangana also raised objections about the Poalvaram project. Rajat said, “When we raised Polavaram extra utilisation and extra capacity, and doubts about backwaters impact, they said that the Polavaram project authority is separate. You can raise it as a member and GRMB also noted.”

Telangana said that the GRMB has been informed about the urgency as due to floods, more damage will be for Andhra. 85% of ayacut is with them and ours is only 15%.

Meanwhile, Telangana would file a petition with the NGT in a week on the fine of Rs 920.85 crore imposed by the tribunal on Telangana accusing it of violating environmental rules while constructing the Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) and the Dindi Lift Irrigation Project.

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