Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has promised his Tamil Nadu counterpart O. Panneerselvam to extend all possible help in addressing Chennai’s drinking water crisis.
In the same breath, Mr. Naidu said the Krishna River Water Management Board (KRWMB) would have to decide the quantum of water to be released by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana from the Telugu Ganga project.
The agreement to provide water to Chennai from the Telugu Ganga project was entered into with the Tamil Nadu government much before bifurcation of the State.
“After bifurcation, both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana would have to honour the agreement and share the amount of water to be released to Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Naidu told Mr. Panneerselvam when the latter met him at the Interim Government Complex at Velagapudi, near here, on Thursday.
The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said the drinking water sources in Chennai had a total storage capacity of 11.5 tmcft. But even before the onset of summer, the water available was only 1.5 tmcft. Unless water from the Telugu Ganga project was released, the drinking water problem cannot be solved, Mr. Panneerselvam said.
Responding to it, Mr. Naidu said that Andhra Pradesh had already released 1 tmcft of water on January 9. The government would be able to release more after assessing the availability in Somasila and Kandaleru, he said. “The government will have to consider the issue of standing crops in Nellore district and other places,” Mr. Naidu said.
Before the Krishna board decided the issue, Mr. Naidu suggested to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to mount pressure on the Union government to see to it that Karnataka and Maharashtra too released their share as per the 1983 agreement. Both Karnataka and Maharashtra would have to release 5 tmcft each.
A.P. Planning Board Vice-Chairman C. Kutumba Rao, speaking to the media, said that Mr. Naidu also took up the issue of Rs. 443 crore dues to be released by Tamil Naidu as its share in the Telugu Ganga project. Mr. Panneerselvam agreed to release some portion of it immediately.
Water Resources Department officials of both the States would meet in Tirupati shortly to discuss these issues, he said.