Mumbai/Hyderabad: Making a new beginning, Telangana and Maharashtra governments on Tuesday signed a historic agreement on construction of inter-state irrigation projects.
The agreement will facilitate construction of five barrages on Godavari river and its tributaries Penganga and Pranahita -- projects which have been pending for four decades due to inter-state river disputes.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai signed five MoUs, which will cover both the ongoing and new projects.
Chandrasekhar Rao, who took the initiative for the historic pact a year ago, was accompanied by Irrigation Minister Harish Rao, two other ministers, chief secretary Rajiv Sharma and other officials.
The important pact inked by the two states is for construction of Medigadda barrage as part of Kaleshwaram project, a component of the redesigned Pranahita-Chevella. It will tap about 160 TMC ft water from Godavari.
Under another agreement, Telangana will build Pranahita barrage as part of Pranahita-Chevella project near Tummidihatti in Adilabad district to irrigate about 2.5 lakh acres of uplands.
Other MoUs will cover construction of Chankha-Korata, Rajapet and Penpahad barrages as part of the inter-State Lower Penganga project across the Penganga river. The barrages are expected to create Aan irrigation potential of over 3 lakh acres, benefitting farmers of both the states.
The two states also signed a pact to constitute an inter-state board to solve all issues relating to projects agreed in the past and those to be built in future across Godvarai. It will monitor inter-state projects to be taken up under Godavari tribunal award 1979.
The chief minister of Telangana will be chairman of the board for one year while his Maharashtra counterpart will head it the next year.
When chief minister of one state is chairman, the chief minister of other state will be vice chairman.
Irrigation, finance, revenue and forest ministers of the two states, a representative of union ministry of water resources and some top officials of both the states will be members.
The board will have its head office in Hyderabad but the meetings may be held in Hyderabad or Mumbai.
Officials termed the agreement a model for the entire country to solve inter-state water disputes. The state gave up the confrontationist approach adopted by previous governments to move ahead with mutual cooperation.
Terming it as a historic day for both the states, Chandrasekhar Rao said as Telangana state was achieved after a long battle and people have lot of expectations, he wanted friendly and cordial relations with all neighbouring states.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said with the grace of god, Godavari had plenty of water and two to four TMC water is going waste into the sea. "I have told this to Andhra Pradesh chief minister as well," he said.
Telangana is using the river water after Maharashtra and from Telangana, the river flows into Andhra Pradesh before joining Bay of Bengal.
Fadnavis said the irrigation projects were important for the development of both the state.
"When countries are resolving water disputes amicably, why can't two states in the country can do this," he asked.