Friday, November 29, 2013

Diversion of Godavari waters into Krishna Basin the need of the hour: Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that the State Government take up without further delay diversion of the Godavari waters into the Krishna basin in the wake of the final award of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal on the Krishna river waters dispute.

In a media statement, Dr. JP pointed out that the award has made matters worse for Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh had benefited immensely from the 1976 Bachawat Tribunal award which upheld the right of Andhra Pradesh, the lowest riparian State, to all the surplus waters in the Krishna. Andhra Pradesh also benefited as the Bachawat Tribunal allocated waters based on the 75% dependability factor.

The Brijesh Kumar Tribual, in contrast, allocated water going by the 65% dependability factor. The tribunal estimated the additional water available for allocation at 448 tmc ft and allocated it among all the three riparian States. Of this, Andhra Pradesh got 35 tmc ft as firm allocation and 145 tmc ft of surplus water. As a result, Andhra Pradesh has to forgo the right to utilize 268 tmc ft of surplus water.

With the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal allocating the surplus waters to Maharashtra and Karnataka also, Andhra Pradesh has now suffered a double disadvantage. In the last three decades and a half, Andhra Pradesh has failed to utilize the surplus waters, with all the parties and successive Governments engaged in vote bank politics whereas Maharashtra and Karnataka began to use more and more Krishna waters.

Dr. JP said there is no point in indulging in a blame game or in rousing false expectations among farmers. One should not repose too much faith in the Supreme Court overriding or relaxing the verdict, although an appeal may be necessary.

Dr. JP demanded that the State Government take immediate measures to divert as much water from the Godavari into the Krishna basin. Consequently, water from the Srisailam reservoir could be utilized to serve Rayalaseema and Telangana and from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir, the dry lands in Telangana and Coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The State Government should utilize the funds allocated under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to augment groundwater table by harvesting every raindrop. The State has been squandering away almost Rs.5000 crore a year under the NREGS instead of using it to augment water resources. Attempts should be made to utilize all the water sources and avoid wastage through proper regulation.

The Government should offer incentives for raising less water intensive crops like oilseeds and pulses and provide marketing facilities.

Dr. JP said people should work together transcending their party and regional affiliations so that everyone stands to gain.

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