CMs of Andhra and Telangana meet; water row ends in thaw

Andhra Pradesh chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana countrepart K Chandrasekhar Rao will meet on Saturday to discuss sharing of Nagarjuna Sagar dam water.

CMs of Andhra and Telangana meet; water row ends in thaw

Hyderabad: The bitter dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over sharing of water of Nagarjuna Sagar dam ended in a thaw with Chief Ministers N Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao meeting in the presence of common Governor ESL Narasimhan here on Saturday.

Leaving behind the bitterness witnessed yesterday in which policemen of the two states almost came to blows at the dam site, the state governments today decided to see that standing crops in both the states are saved.

After the conclusion of about a two-hour-long meeting between the Chief Ministers, Telangana Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao and Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister D Umamaheswara Rao jointly addressed mediapersons.

Irrigation Engineers-in-Chief (ENCs) of both the states would sit and decide on release of water, they said.

"It was decided in the meeting that, as per availability of water in Nagarjuna Sagar dam, crops in the two states should be saved in the larger interests of farmers," Harish Rao said.

"It is decided that the two states should very carefully use the available water so that crops don't dry up. ENCs of both states should sit, discuss and see that crops both in Telangana or Andhra are saved," he said.

The help of Central Government officials would be taken and some principles adopted with regard to sharing of water in (future) the coming Kharif season, he said.

In view of yesterday's incident, policemen from both the states and political workers would not be allowed to go on to the dam. The operations of the dam would be conducted by engineers of the two states, Harish Rao said.

Observing that both states would act in coordination, Umamaheswara Rao said Chief Ministers, Irrigation Ministers, Principal Secretaries of irrigation, ENCs would communicate and review from time to time.

Both the states would coordinate in future in the event of heavy rains, flood and others, Umamaheswara Rao said.

Replying to a query, he said priority is for saving crops and meeting drinking water requirements and the ENCs would decide on water release.

The meeting of the two Chief Ministers was held in the wake of tension prevailing yesterday at the Nagarjuna Sagar dam when policemen from both the states were engaged in a fight at the site. The dam is located between Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh and Nalgonda district of Telangana.

The unsavoury incident yesterday took place when both sides failed to reach an understanding on release of water, though talks were held between officials of irrigation and other departments.

The decision on the CMs holding talks came after Naidu spoke to Rao over phone last night and discussed the situation at Nagarjuna Sagar, a release from Rao's office said, adding the latter expressed readiness to resolve the issue amicably.

Alleging that Andhra Pradesh had already used water in excess of its share, the Telangana Irrigation Minister said yesterday that his government had to protect standing crops in Nalgonda and Khammam districts.

He, however, said the Telangana Government is ready to be accommodative in releasing the water, but Andhra has to first come out with a proposal on the amount of water it needs.

Harish Rao alleged that the Andhra government is not ready to give such a proposal.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government accused Telangana of indulging in "provocative" actions. Speaking in Vijayawada last night, the AP Irrigation Minister said Andhra Pradesh government has already given letters (regarding the proposal) and he himself spoke to Harish Rao on the issue.

He said Andhra Pradesh is utilising water as per project-wise allocations made by Bachawat award (on share of water). The minister alleged that stopping of water by Telangana badly hit crops in Guntur and Prakasam districts.