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AP-TS CMs find way to settle scores
Narendra Ch | 16 Feb 2015

At a time when the relations between two Telugu states Andhra Pradesh and Telangana reached to lowest level of police of both the States indulging in physical attacks on each other, the Chief Ministers of both the states for the first time find the way to settle complicated issues by sitting together.

It has given hope for the people of two states, if chief ministers are determined; they are capable of resolving all existing disputes emerged after bifurcation between them in a peaceful and amicable way.

The raging controversy between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments over the release of water from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir into the project's right canal for irrigation in Krishna delta snowballed into a virtual battle for supremacy between the two Telugu states on February 13, 2015. This led to clashes between the police forces of both the States and they wielded lathis to attack each other. At least seven cops are said to have received injuries in the attacks and counter-attacks. The Central Reserve Police Forces intervened and tried to bring normalcy.

The irrigation officials of both the States also traded arguments and counter-arguments over the release of water. While AP authorities demanded that at least 6,000 cusecs of water be released into the right canal, Telangana officials said they could release only 2,000 cusecs through the power house and maintained that they would not be able to release more water without directions from the Telangana government.

 

Naidu called KCR

The situation would have turned to worse, but for the timely intervention of both AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao. They agreed to hold negotiations on the next day at Raj Bhavan in the presence of Governor E S L Narasimhan.

According to sources, Naidu called up KCR on the same day and suggested to the latter that they could work out an amicable solution over the release of water from Nagarjunasagar to the right and left canals through a dialogue. KCR responded positively. While Naidu asked the police and the irrigation authorities of his government to maintain restraint till the issue was settled, KCR also asked the Telangana police forces to withdraw from the Nagarjunasagar dam site.

The issue of water release from Nagarjunasagar right canal to Krishna delta has been simmering for the last couple of days, after the Telangana government locked the gates stating that the AP had already utilised more water than what it was entitled to under the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (Bachawat) Award at the cost of Telangana farmers in Nalgonda and Khammam districts. This led to widespread protests from farmers in Krishna delta in Guntur and Prakasam districts and they have been bringing pressure on the AP government.

The issue reached a flashpoint with the political leaders from AP threatening to break the Nagarjunasagar project gates to release water into the right canal, if the Telangana government did not open the locks. On Feb 13th, the irrigation officials of the AP tried to break open the switch room of Nagarjunasagar dam with the help of the Guntur police. The Telangana police immediately swung into action and tried to drive away the AP police.

CMs find way out

In the presence of Governor ESL Narasimhan, both the Chief Ministers have agreed to end the on-going dispute over sharing of Nagarjuna Sagar water. Though they were firm on their contention over their rights over Nagarjuna Sagar water, Narasimhan convinced them to find an amicable solution, at least for the time being. Subsequently, it was agreed that steps would be taken to protect the standing crops in both the States.

Besides both the Chief Ministers, Irrigation Ministers - Devineni Uma Maheshwara Rao (AP) and T Harish Rao (TS) and senior officials of both the States participated in the meeting held at Raj Bhavan. Both the States presented their version before the Governor. The Governor first elicited the individual views of both the Chief Minister by speaking to them separately. Later, he made Naidu and KCR sit together to find a solution. 

Briefing to media persons later, Harish Rao and Uma Maheshwara Rao informed that the talks were successful and it has been agreed upon to protect the interests of farmers of both the States. They said available water in Nagarjuna Sagar Dam would be used judiciously by both the States, in consultation with the Centre.

Irrigation Engineers-in-Chief (ENCs) of both the states would discuss and decide on release of water. Except for Irrigation Department officials, police personnel or officials of other department or activists of any political parties would not be allowed near the Dam. They also informed that both the Chief Ministers have also agreed to resolve contentious issues by holding direct negotiations. Further, the ministers and officials concerned would meet from time to time to resolve the disputes, if any.

Governor Narasimhan  also reportedly expressed his unhappiness over the way behaviour of police personnel of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh State on Friday at the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam. The Governor reportedly pulled up Directors General of Police - Anurag Sharma (TS) and JV Ramudu (AP) for mishandling the situation at the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam on Friday. He asked them to seek report from the concerned IGs to ascertain as to who directed the police personnel to behave in such a manner.