The task force on Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) has agreed and approved the preparation of final detailed project report (DPR) on the proposed Mahandi (Barmul)-Gadavari (Dowlaiswaram) link by ensuring utilisation of the allocated Godavari waters by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, en route the link canal of the project.
The decision, considered a major foot forward on the interlinking of rivers involving the two Telugu States, has been taken at the 13th meeting of the task force on ILR held in New Delhi on Thursday. The meeting discussed mainly three proposals put forward by the task force chairman based on the draft DPR prepared on the diversion of water from Godavari basin to Cauvery basin.
The meeting was chaired by Chairman of the task force Sriram Vedire, who is also Advisor to the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC) S.K. Haldar, Director General of National Water Development Agency (NWDA) Bhopal Singh and several others from the Department of Water Resources and other agencies concerned.
The task force deliberated upon several priority links under the Centre’s programme of interlinking of rivers and has taken decisions on how to proceed further on the implementation of such links. The draft DPR on Godavari-Cauvery link was prepared by the NWDA and was circulated among all the Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery Basin States in March 2019.
Most of the States conveyed their observations on the draft DPR. On its part, the Telangana government had categorically opposed diversion of Godavari water from Telangana without ensuring utilisation of allocated water within the State first and in case diversion is planned it should be done after diverting/linking excess water in Mahanadi.
The Recent’s meeting discussed the draft DPR at length taking into consideration the comments, objections and suggestions of States to the extent feasible. Chairman of the task force Mr. Sriram has suggested the group to take into consideration two key issues before finalising the DPR.
Mr. Sriram said: “The water diversion from Godavari basin, out of allocated share of AP and Telangana in Godavari basin to Krishna or Penner basin will belong to the respective State and it could be utilised as per their planning. However, if such transfers/planning fit into the national perspective, the Centre would extend help in implementing and integrating the two States’ proposals serving their common objectives.”
Further, any other water transfer from Godavari to Krishna or Cauvery basin, from out of the unutilised or excess water of other Godavari basin States or by augmentation from Mahanadi or Himalayan river waters, other States in the Krishna or Cauvery basins shall also be considered as the beneficiaries, he suggested. The supplementation from Godavari could be used not only in easing the distress faced by farmers in the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu but also allow Kerala and Karnataka use some water in Cauvery basin by substitution.
This, he said, should be done only after ensuring the use of allocated waters by Telangana and AP en route the link canal of the interlinking project. “The link will be taken up from Inchampalli as it would benefit the water stressed areas of Telangana en route the link canal as compared to the Janampet location on the Godavari”, Mr. Sriram felt.
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