Notifying the purview of the two river boards constituted under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act — Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards (KRMB and GRMB) — and shifting of the KRMB office from Hyderabad to AP, Amaravati/Vijayawada or any other City, were among the important outcomes of the Apex Council meeting held on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Jal Shakti has taken the decision to notify the purview of the two rivers boards soon in spite of “dissent registered by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao”. “We have taken the decision to enable the two boards function properly by notifying their purview as the Centre has powers to do so under the provisions of APRA,” Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who chaired the meeting, said.

It is learnt that Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao opposed the proposal to notify the purview of the two river boards in the absence of clarity on share of waters for the two States after bifurcation of combined AP. He insisted that the purview could be decided only after the water shares were decided both in the Krishna and Godavari rivers.

As expected, Chief Minister of Telangana K. Chandrasekhar Rao and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, availed the opportunity to put forth their States’ argument on issues related to river waters. While Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao reiterated the injustice being done to Telangana in the matter of river water allocation from the days of combined AP and explained the perennial impact of AP’s plans to divert Krishna water from Srisailam reservoir by taking up a new lift scheme and expanding an existing water drawal system, Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy stressed on the impact of projects being executed by Telangana in Godavari Basin.

The Apex Council on water issues between AP and Telangana, that met after a gap of over four years, was a virtual meeting in the wake of COVID-19 for about two hours, was attended by Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao from Pragati Bhavan Hyderabad, Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy from AP Bhavan in New Delhi and officials of Krishna and Godavari River Boards from Jala Soudha in Hyderabad. Senior officials of MoJS, including Secretary U.P. Singh, Advisor Sriram Vedire and others, participated along with Mr. Shekhawat.

Mr. Shekhawat stated after the meeting that the two States had also agreed to submit the detailed project reports (DPRs) of new projects taken up by them for appraisal and approval by the respective river boards. However, no clarity was given on the definition of the “new project” since the two States have been contending that the projects being executed in the recent years or planned to be executed soon were not new projects but extension of the existing ones.

The issue of working out a fool-proof mechanism to discuss and decided on the water disputes, including sharing, was also discussed at length, the Union Minister said. He termed the meeting as very productive since the two States were willing to find a solution to disputes. Mr. Shekhawat felt that the Apex Council should meet at least once a year, from now on, for taking forward the outstanding issues.

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