Andhra CM breaks his silence on Telengana

Demands resolution to water and power sharing problems that will arise between proposed new state and Seemandhra

By M Suchitra
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

Andhra Pradesh chief minister, Kiran Kumar Reddy, has finally spoken out on the Congress Working Committee's (CWC's) decision on July 30  to create a separate state of Telangana by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. Speaking for the first time since the CWC decision Reddy made his stance clear at a press conference on Thursday. He said that he was for a united Andhra Pradesh and that the Centre should address the basic problems of water-sharing, power shortage and the status of Hyderabad, the capital city.

“A problem cannot be solved by creating bigger problems,” said Reddy. “ I request the Centre and the newly-appointed high-level committee headed by the Defence Minister A K Antony  to look into all basic issues faced by all regions in the state.”

Shared irrigation projects

The chief minister said that sharing of river waters was going to be a real issue. He pointed out that many irrigation projects were shared by the three regions. “For instance, Srisailam project is located in Rayalaseema region. But four districts in Rayalaseema, two districts in Telangana and two districts in coastal Andhra get water from the project. If the state is divided, how will water be shared among the three regions?” he asked.

Similarly, the chief minister pointed out that the Nagarjuna Sagar project is located between Andhra and Telangana. While its right bank canal caters to the irrigation needs of 1.1 million acres (one acre equals 0.4 hectare) in Andhra, the left bank canal serves 650,000 acres in Telangana and 250,000 acres in Andhra. Same is the case with the Polavaram project which is under way, he said.

Telangana will face power shortfall

“If Telangana state is formed, it will face a 50 per cent shortfall in the availability of power,” said the chief minister, quoting statistics. Telangana at present consumes 115 million units of power every day as against the generation of 57 million units in the region. “Several lift-irrigation projects are coming up here. Where will the new state get the power from?” Reddy asked. Farmers of Telangana will suffer if the state gets divided because 60-65 per cent of the agriculture pumpsets in the state which enjoy free power is located in Telangana, he said.
He pointed out that Telangana leader K Chandrasekhar Rao’s recent remark that the new state would purchase power from Chhattisgarh was humbug. “Chhattisgarh produces only 6,300 MW power and besides there is no grid connectivity between the two states,” said Reddy.

Status of Hyderabad a sore point

The chief minister pointed out that a lot of investments have been made in the capital  and the successive governments have set up several industries, educational institutions and super speciality hospitals in and around Hyderabad. People from all the three regions depend on Hyderabad for employment opportunities, better education and health facilities. “Hyderabad belongs to everyone. How will the interests of millions of people from Seemnadhra be taken care of ?” the chief minister asked.

The chief minister asserted that he was not defying the decision of the Congress high command but requesting it to consider all issues in detail before moving forward with its decision.
He asked the agitating government employees from Seemandhra region to withdraw their notice for an indefinite strike from August 12  and present their concerns before the high-level committee formed by the Centre.

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