Hyderabad, Feb., 16(NSS):Andhra Pradesh will not get its legitimate share in the Krishna waters unless people belonging to all regions, castes and parties transcend their differences and mount a united fight, warned Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Talking to media a day after attending an all-party conference organized by the Chief Minister on the verdict of the Krishna Waters Dispute Tribunal, Dr. JP said that if we cannot put up our case in one voice to the Union Government, the Krishna tribunal, and the Supreme Court, and continue to sling mud at each other the State stands to lose.
Dr. JP called for adoption of an integrated water utilization policy that renders justice to all regions of the State, considering the futurologists’ dire prediction that future wars would be fought over waters in the context of a demand supply mismatch.
Dr. JP analyzed that Andhra Pradesh stood to lose because the tribunal took 65 percent dependability for assessing water availability in the river and also distributed the entire surplus water among the riparian States. Breast-beating or street fighting are not a substitute for making a convincing and rational case before the tribunal, the Union Government and the Supreme Court.
Now that all the surplus waters in the Krishna have been allocated among the States, Dr. JP said, Andhra Pradesh should insist on the Government of India constituting an independent, powerful river control authority to ensure that the lower riparian State of Andhra Pradesh does not suffer. Such an authority was created in the U. S. when the Colorado waters were distributed among seven States. The authority should be empowered to decide and monitor release of water from each project on a daily basis. If the upper riparian States utilize more water than that allocated to them, they should be penalized in kind. If the upper riparian State, for instance, draws 10 tmc ft of water in excess, it should be made to part with an equivalent quantity of water by way of fine.
As part of the long-term, integrated water utilization policy, Dr. JP said, the Krishna waters should not be released for irrigation downstream of the Nagarjunasagar except in years of extreme floods or drought. The Nagarjunasagar water should be utilized to irrigate dry lands in Telangana and Rayalaseema regions. Small projects can be constructed to tap the flows into the Krishna downstream of the Nagarjuanasagar. The Godavari waters should be diverted into the Krishna basin by gravity to meet the irrigation requirements in the Krishna delta.
Dr. JP demanded that the Government honor its commitments on fee reimbursement to poor students pursuing higher education. He recalled that it was the Lok Satta Party which had incorporated irrevocable guarantees on education and social security in its 50-point election manifesto. According to the Lok Satta Party, no student irrespective of his caste or religion should be denied an opportunity to pursue higher education provided he or she is desirous and deserving. It also advocated institution of a program to help the poor stand on their own feet through financial assistance and earn pension through a contributory scheme. That was why the Lok Satta welcomed the fee reimbursement and abhaya hastam schemes ushered in by late Chief Minister Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy. The Government which rode to power on such promises should not go back on them now, Dr. JP said.
Dr. JP said that provision of educational opportunities was essential but not enough. There are today tens of thousands of educated unemployed in the State. They should be imparted job-oriented skills and provided livelihood opportunities. Imparting skills to a million people for periods ranging from three months to a year would not cost more than Rs.2500 crore a year. The Government would earn Rs.3000 crore to Rs. 4000 crore by way of revenue once the trained youth boost manufacturing by Rs.25000 crore after landing jobs.
Dr. JP welcomed BJP’s constitution of a committee to study electoral reforms including the role of money and mafia in elections. He said that what we need is a constructive and creative response to fight corruption, black money and administrative paralysis. He reminded the people that in the wake of Tehelka expose, on the urging of Lok Satta the then NDA government and opposition Congress came together to unanimously enact the political funding reforms in 2003. (NSS)