Krishna Water Dispute: Will it hit Jagan-KCR bonhomie?

Water disputes among the Telugu states have a long history and these issues continued to fester mainly because the Centre neither had the will nor the interest to solve them. The Centre, which has to ensure a win-win solution in water disputes, is being accused by the political class of being biased towards one state at the cost of the other. As a result, the stalemates continue.

Significantly, the CMs of both the Telugu states enjoy cordial relations. The situation, which had deteriorated during Chandrababu’s regime, has dramatically improved ever since YS Jagan Mohan Reddy assumed power. But, Krishna water dispute is threatening to mar this bonhomie. With both the CMs committed to their regional interests, the differences are only growing. Unfortunately, the Central Government, which is fishing in troubled water, is only trying to use this issue for furthering its political aims.

Both the CMs are giving utmost importance to both drinking water and irrigational needs. It is as part of this that the Polavaram project works have been speeded up. Similarly, the AP Government is also speeding up the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Project to address the perennial drought in Rayalaseema region. The project has recently secured the National Green Tribunal’s nod. The Union Environment Ministry has categorically said that Rayalaseema LIS is not a new project. It is part of an old and existing project, it said. But, there is strident opposition to this project from Telangana. Opposing this project the Congress had gone to the High Court, while the Telangana Government had knocked the doors of the apex court. Meanwhile, in view of the NGT directives, the tendering process for the Rayalaseema LIS project has also been completed.

Now, the BJP, which has been trying to get a foothold in both the Telugu states, is trying to fish in troubled water. It is trying to derive benefit from the controversy. The Centre has called for a meeting of the Apex Council through video conferencing with both the CMs. The Central Water Resources Minister will conduct the meeting. Both the CMs too have agreed for the meeting.

The BJP wants to use this issue to get political mileage in Telangana, where it is relatively stronger. It wants to project itself as pro-Telangana for this purpose. As part of this, the Centre has already directed the AP state Government not to go ahead with the Rayalaseema LIS. The people in AP are beginning to feel that the BJP is preventing Rayalaseema from benefiting and AP from realising its irrigational potential.

Sources say, both the Telugu CMs have seen through the BJP game-plan. They are now said to have decided to solve this issue amicably at the Apex Council. Will the two CMs work in tandem and deny the BJP a chance to meddle in their affairs or will they fall prey to the BJP game-plan?

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