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6 Andhra districts depend on Srisailam project for water: CM

<p id="content">Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said six districts of his state, including Rayalaseema and Prakasam, are dependent on the Srisailam project, as they require at least 600 TMC water to meet their drinking water and irrigation needs and alleviate the backwardness of the region.</p>
"Rayalaseema and Prakasam districts continue to reel under drought for not having even 50 TMC of water per district. It is generally agreed that a minimum of 100 TMC of water is required for each district to sustain itself," said Reddy in the apex council meeting, with Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat and his Telangana counterpart K. Chandrasekhar Rao, aimed at resolving the Telugu states' water disputes.

"It is a fact that critical and chronically drought-prone areas of Rayalaseema, Kurnool, YSR Kadapa, Anantapuram, Chittoor, including SPSR Nellore and Prakasam districts are mainly dependent on Srisailam project for their drinking, industrial and irrigation needs," he said.

According to Reddy, these areas receive very low rainfall with erratic distribution in time and space. Likewise, there are also no reliable water sources to provide drinking water and irrigation.

He said these six districts are among the most backward places in Andhra Pradesh.

"It is not out of context to mention that Ananthapuram receives the second lowest rainfall in the country after Thar desert and falls under Desert Development Programme (DDP)," Reddy noted, adding that Kurnool, YSR Kadapa, Chittoor and Prakasam districts fall under Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP), showing their backwardness and acute need of water for sustenance and development.

Due to the parched conditions and underdevelopment, the Chief Minister said people from these six districts are migrating to faraway places in search of livelihood, impacting the region's socio-economic conditions.

"I, respectfully, would like to submit that the Minister of Jal Shakti and CM, Telangana would appreciate that it is the moral responsibility of the elected governments, to ensure that the minimum basic needs of the people are fulfilled in the backward areas in order to instill confidence in overall growth of those regions," he said.

Though Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda and Rangareddy districts in Telangana are on the same page, the availability of irrigation facility above 30 per cent of commandable area with 142 TMC and 104 TMC in both the districts respectively, along with industrialization in Rangareddy have put them out of the DPAP, he noted.

Reddy said these three districts are better placed from an overall growth perspective while Rayalaseema and Prakasam continue to reel under drought without even 50 TMC water per district.

Appealing to Shekhawat to chalk out a national policy to treat water resources as national wealth to balance the needs of the backward and flourishing areas, he said: "Further, the sharing mechanism in all the reservoirs in a basin may be considered on a proportionate sharing basis on a fortnightly basis so that all extreme conditions will be shared by all the stakeholders in the basin together.".