Water row between Andhra, Rayalaseema hots up

September 1st, 2012 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Hyderabad, Sep 1 (IANS) The row over sharing of Krishna river water between two regions of Andhra Pradesh hotted up Saturday with the state government stopping release of water from Srisailam dam after an MP from Rayalseema resigned while opposition parties took to the streets demanding water for the Krishna delta.

A day after Congress MP from Nandyal S.P.Y. Reddy sent his resignation to the Lok Sabha speaker to protest the release of water from Srisailam, the government Saturday ordered its stoppage.

The authorities had Friday released water from the dam to the downstream Nagarjuna Sagar (located in Telangana) to eventually reach the farmers of the Krishna delta in the coastal Andhra region. This infuriated the MP, who resigned.

Reddy claimed that more public representatives from Rayalaseema were ready to quit over the injustice to the region. He demanded that no water be released downstream unless water is released for drinking and irrigation projects in Rayalaseema.

This would be possible only when the level in Srisailam dam reaches 845 feet. The level in the dam on Saturday was 839 feet against the full reservoir level of 885 feet.

The MP Saturday met Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and agreed to withdraw his resignation following the stoppage.

Meanwhile, leaders of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other opposition parties and farmers’ groups resorted to road blockades in coastal Andhra region, demanding release of water for crops in Krishna delta.

Police arrested several protesters including legislators when they blocked the highways in Krishna and Guntur districts. There were also protests in Prakasam and West Godavari districts, with protesters alleging that the farmers were suffering due to the government’s indifferent attitude.

TDP leader D. Uma Maheshwara Rao said crops in the Krishna delta were withering due to lack of water. He demanded that the government immediately seek a stay on a court order with regard to the release of water.

Krishna delta, known as the rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh, is spread over nearly 14 lakh acres in four districts and it is not getting water for the ongoing kharif season due to lack of release from the dams in Rayalaseema and Telangana.

Officials say the crisis was because of poor inflows into the river from upstream Karnataka due to insufficient rains in catchment areas.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court in July directed the government not to release water from Nagarjuna Sagar to Krishna delta if the water level in the reservoir is below 510 feet.

Following the court order, the government had to stop the release of water. Telangana parties were also protesting against the release of water to the Krishna delta without meeting the requirements of the region.

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