CM meets Union Minister for Environment

New Delhi, Dec 28: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has called on the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav here on Wednesday. During his visit, the Chief Minister informed the Union Minister on various issues related to the development of Andhra Pradesh, including the granting of environmental clearances for irrigation projects.

Referring to the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme, he asked the Union Minister to grant environmental clearances for the scheme and explained it’s important to provide drinking water irrigation to this drought-stricken region. Besides that various aspects relating to the Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar reservoirs located between the two Telugu states were discussed.

The Chief Minister also pointed out that the Telangana government is acting unilaterally in the Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar joint reservoir projects on the Krishna river and is violating all the operational protocols, agreements and directives of the Krishna River Management Board. As a result Andhra Pradesh is losing its share rights on Krishna river, he said.

Elaborating further, he explained that in 2022-22 and 2022-23, Telangana state has started using water for power generation from the Kharif season beginning from June 1. Even though the minimum water level in Srisailam reservoir is less than 834 feet, the Telangana government is releasing water for power generation without any indent at least before Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).

He also made it clear that the generation of electricity for irrigation needs is only incidental. With the Telangana government releasing water up to 796 feet into the downstream every year for power generation it has become a tough task to maintain the minimum water level in the Srisailam reservoir. The Chief Minister mentioned he had earlier brought the problem faced by the Andhra Pradesh government to the attention of the Centre.

Unless the water level in the Srisailam reservoir reaches 881 feet, it is not possible to release water from Pothireddypadu in a full fledged manner and cater the drinking water needs of Sri Potti Sreeramulu Nellore and Prakasam, and the Chennai metropolis in addition to the irrigation and drinking water needs of drought-prone Rayalaseema, he said.

Informing the illegal projects taken by the neighbouring Telangana, he said that the Telangana government is constructing the Palamuru-RangaReddy Lift Scheme (3 TMCs) and Dindi Schemes at 800 feet without any environmental clearances is being constructed on a large scale without permission. Due to these projects it is not possible to maintain the water level of the reservoir above 854 feet and on the other hand it is not possible to use the water allocated to Andhra Pradesh government.

Under these circumstances, the Andhra Pradesh government has no other alternative but to implement the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLS), through which 3 TMC water per day can be supplied to TGP, SRBC and GNSS, he said. Keeping in view the inappropriate attitude of the Telangana government by releasing water in complete disregard of norms and protocols, the interests of Andhra Pradesh can be avoided by completing the Rayalaseema lift irrigation project as soon as possible.

An application has been made to the Central Forest and Environment Department for the grant of environmental clearances for this project and comprehensive discussions have been held between the state government and the officials of the Forest and Environment Department in this regard. All the necessary information has already been provided, land acquisition, forest area, wildlife sanctuaries are not involved for this project, and the project is 10 km away from the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) and this is only for providing water to the main canal at full level, he informed.

The Chief Minister appealed to the Union Minister to ensure that the environmental clearances for the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Project are given as soon as possible. Giving a detailed outline on the development of ports, he said that Andhra Pradesh with its vast coastline of 974 kms is conducive to immense economic activities. The State Government is developing three greenfield ports at Ramayapatnam, Machilipatnam and Bhavanapadu.

Along with this, about 10 lakh fishermen families in the coastal region depend on fishing and fisheries related activities for their livelihood. Andhra Pradesh Government has prioritised the development of fishing harbours at 9 strategic locations to support these vulnerable groups. Works relating to Ramayapatnam port are progressing at a fast pace. By March, 2024, the port operations will commence and for the remaining two ports, Machilipatnam in Krishna district and Bhavanapadu port in Srikakulam district, we have applied for the grant of environmental clearances.

We have also provided the necessary information for this and request your cooperation in granting the necessary permissions so that the AP government can start these works as soon as possible, the Chief Minister requested the Union Minister. On Pumped storage projects, he said that in line with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to promote renewable energy production, green hydrogen production and storage, the Government of Andhra Pradesh has undertaken several initiatives.

He also explained that the initiatives will be useful for achieving the target of Net Zero 2070 set by 2070. The state government is in the forefront in identifying suitable places for setting up pumped storage facilities and has also formulated a policy for the promotion of pumped storage projects, such projects are being set up in places like Erravaram, Kurikutty, Somashila, Avuku and asked for permission for those projects.

The government has already sent a proposal to the Central Forest and Environment Department for environmental clearances for the 1000 MW pumped storage project at Gandikota in YSR district. Applications related to other projects will also be submitted to the government on time. Apart from these, the Chief Minister said that the AP government is undertaking the Lower Sileru Hydro Power Project (230 MW) and the Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Power Project (1350 MW) with the capacity, and applied for environmental clearances for these projects, and requested permission to be granted for these projects which are necessary for the progress of the state.