Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to pay for CISF security at the irrigation projects in the Krishna and Godavari river basins

Published : September 14, 2021 12:58 IST

Andhra Pradesh police personnel at the right bank of the Srisailam dam in Kurnool in July. Photo: U. SUBRAMANYAM

For the riparian States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, being at loggerheads over the sharing of the Krishna and Godavari waters is going to cost them dear.

The jurisdictions of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) were notified by the Centre through a gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Water Resources on July 15. As per the notification, the two boards will take full control of all the major and minor irrigation projects in the two river basins from October 14. A roadmap for the takeover is being prepared.

The boards will also henceforth seek from the two States the salaries and allowances for the security detail to be provided by the central security forces at 107 major and minor irrigation project sites in the two river basins. The cost to the KRMB and the GRMB is likely to be in the range of Rs.50 crore to Rs.70 crore annually, with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, as contained in the Centre’s gazette notification, having to deposit the funds required for the functioning of the two boards on a regular basis within 15 days of receiving a request from the boards.

In addition, the two States have also been mandated to deposit Rs.200 crore with each of the boards within 60 days from September 15, the date of publication of the notification.

Security at the irrigation project sites in the two river basins will be provided by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). The Centre’s decision to take over the security aspects and deploy Central forces at the common irrigation sites comes after several reports of skirmishes, many of them violent, between officials of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over hydel power generation and the release of water at the irrigation project sites. Officials of the two States had even lodged police complaints against each other.

While Telangana was allocated 299 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water, Andhra Pradesh was given 512 tmc ft from the total 811 tmc ft that was allocated to the erstwhile unified State of Andhra Pradesh as part of the 1976 Bachawat Award. Telangana, citing higher irrigation and drinking water needs, has been seeking a higher share of water from the Krishna river since 2018. The issue is currently pending before the Krishna River Water Disputes Tribunal-2 (KWDT-2).

Another prickly issue is the location of the KRMB. After the bifurcation of the erstwhile unified State of Andhra Pradesh, the KRMB needs to be shifted to a site in Andhra Pradesh. Presently, the KRMB is in Hyderabad, since it is the joint capital of both States until 2024. It is no secret that Andhra Pradesh wants to shift the KRMB to Visakhapatnam. The GRMB will be located permanently in Telangana.

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