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Only inter-state projects under Centre control, for now!

Only inter-state projects under Centre control, for now!

Stage is set for the Central government taking over of the contentious irrigation projects on Krishna and Godavari rivers in the two Telugu states with effect from Thursday, when the gazette notification issued by the Union Jal Sakthi ministry comes into force.

For now, only two major irrigation projects – Srisailam and Nagarjunsagar on Krishna river and Pedavagu medium irrigation project on Godavari river, which are located between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, come under the purview of the Centre.

The gazette notification issued on July 15 said the operation and maintenance of as many as 36 irrigation projects on Krishna river, including Srisailam, Nagarjunasagar and Pulichintala, along with their canals and irrigation systems, would come under the purview of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).

Similarly, another 70-odd projects on Godavari river including Kaleshwaram and Polavaram would be brought under Godavari River Management Board (GRMB). Both the boards would be directly under the control of the Union ministry of Jal Sakthi.

But both the state governments resisted the Central government’s move and argued that only those projects from whom water drawl has become a bone of contention could be brought under the control of river board, only to the extent of water releases.

There was a stalemate at the meeting of KRMB on Tuesday and the GRMB the previous day as both the states refused to hand over the staff, offices, files, machinery and equipment to the centre as proposed in the notification. They also refused to pay Rs 200 crore each to these boards towards operation and maintenance expenditure.

However, Andhra Pradesh government agreed to hand over the hydel power stations on its side to the KRMB, while Telangana refused to do so.

A central government official said the notification would come into effect from Thursday, but most of the issues would still be kept in abeyance.

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