Centre convenes meeting of Irrigation Ministers

State Govt. to present its ‘strong’ case during the southern States’ meet on Feb. 20

The Union Water Resources Ministry has convened a meeting of the Irrigation Ministers of southern States here on February 20.

Union Minister of State for Water Resources Arjun Ram Meghwal will chair the meeting which is expected to deliberate on the proposed interlinking of rivers by the Centre.

“We have received intimation about the Centre’s decision to hold the meeting of Irrigation Ministers of southern States here on February 20. The agenda of the meeting is yet to be communicated,” a senior official said.

The meeting assumes significance as the State has asserted that it would not object to interlinking of rivers provided steps are taken to meet its requirements first. The State has strongly objected to the Centre’s proposed interlinking of Godavari with Cauvery and asserted that the Centre should first take up interlinking of Himalayan rivers and this could be subsequently extended to the peninsular rivers.

In the event of the Centre decided to go ahead with peninsular rivers, it should first establish the link between Mahanadi and Godavari so that Telangana will have an assured source to meet its needs.

The State would require at least 1,600 tmcft water to meet its irrigation, drinking and other needs in view of the rapid pace of development taking place across the districts and it had to depend on Godavari river water owing to the significant decline in the availability of water in Krishna river. The Government had also raised objections on the methodology adopted for calculating the availability of water in rivers. While the Centre had based its availability on 110-year-old hydrological cycle, the Central Water Commission was taking the 40-year cycle as the basis for allocation of water.

“We wanted the Centre to revisit the different basis on which the calculations are made as it leads to a lot of variation in the data,” a senior official said.

Given this background, the State government has decided to present a strong case in support of its requirements in the meeting, the official said.