Simmering tension over construction of alleged illegal irrigation projects and hydel power generation is now snowballing into a major showdown between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with both states deploying hundreds of police personnel at hydel power stations on Krishna river in their respective regions.
Tension was palpable at the power stations since Wednesday evening itself as Telangana deployed Special Protection Force personnel at Pulichintala, Srisailam, Jurala and Nagarjunasagar projects to prevent any untoward incidents and closed dam sites for vehicular and tourist movement. In a counter move, AP too deployed police force at Pulichintala dam on its territory.
Although AP police claimed it was confined to protection of key installations at the projects, the heavy deployment of security personnel from both states triggered tension in the region.
Telangana police denied entry to some officials from AP, including revenue and irrigation officials from Guntur, at Macherla on Andhra border, who wanted to give a letter to Telangana Genco officials asking to stop hydel power generation from units at Pulichintala and Nagarjunasagar.
Later, amidst heavy security, J Ramesh Babu, superintending engineer, Pulichintala, AP, reached the hydro-electrical power station located on the other side of the state, and submitted a memorandum to TS Genco officials. Nalgonda DIG AV Ranganath and Guntur Rural superintendent of police Vishal Gunni were present during the negotiations between the AP and Telangana officials at the border.
Kurnool superintendent of police K Fakeerappa said they have deployed force at Srisailam project on AP side as a safety measure and advised people not to come towards the reservoir site. AP police have stepped up security to prevent agitations and protests by opposition parties.
Incidentally, this is not the first time Telangana and AP irrigation officials clashed over their rights on Krishna water. In fact, it was for the third time (2015, 2017 and 2021) in six years that both states deployed police personnel in large numbers at the dams. Earlier, on February 13, 2015 police personnel of both states nearly came to blows at Nagarjunasagar dam site. Both the states’ officials even lodged police complaints in 2017 for not releasing water from Sagar.
Telangana and AP have been at loggerheads over construction of irrigation projects on Krishna, especially Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) in AP and hydel power generation in Telangana for the past two weeks. The Telangana government had written letters to Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) complaining against the AP government and a case was also filed in the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which asked the AP government to stop the works. The Telangana irrigation officials alleged that the AP government did not stop RLIS works despite NGT and KRMB orders.
AP strongly objected to power generation from Srisailam and other projects, especially Pulichintala, where the water level was just 20 tmcft and cannot generate power at that level, that too without taking approval from KRMB.
AP irrigation engineer-inchief C Narayana Reddy shot off a letter to KRMB member secretary seeking immediate suspension of power generation by Telangana at Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar and Pulichintala.
On June 29, Telangana Genco started hydel power generation from two units of Srisailam, which the AP government objected to saying it started without taking permission from KRMB. Later, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao directed officials to generate power from all hydel power stations to full capacity. Following the orders from the energy department, Genco enhanced the capacity by operating more units at Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar, Pulichintala, and Jurala projects. “We will enhance hydel power generation depending on availability of water and inflows,” Telangana Genco director (Hydel) Ch Venkata Rajam told TOI.
Refuting AP’s claims that Telangana cannot generate hydel power, Telangana energy minister G Jagadish Reddy said Srisailam project was constructed for generation of hydel power and not for irrigation.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy writes to PM Modi, seeks CISF cover for projects:
Amid tension between two Telugu states over sharing of Krishna river water and the deployment of police by both states at Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar and Pulichintala projects, AP chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to intervene and resolve the issue. He requested the PM to notify the jurisdiction of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and provide Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) protection at the projects. Jagan alleged that Telangana was illegally drawing water from the river at Srisailam for power generation.