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Tunga board sets deadline for Karnataka

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, SEPT. 3. Resolving a major issue, the Tungabhadra Board, which met here today, asked Karnataka to increase inflows from the TB Dam at Hospet into the High Level Canal (HLC) and Low Level Canal (LLC) in Andhra Pradesh by Monday.

The meeting agreed that it would be the Board's responsibility to ensure that Andhra Pradesh received its allotted quota.

The Karnataka member, who is the Irrigation Secretary of that State, was told by the Board that if it did not comply before the deadline, a formal complaint highlighting Andhra Pradesh's grievance about insufficient inflows would be formally lodged with the Union Government.

All three other members of the board, T. S. Prakash Rao, Engineer-in-Chief, Major Irrigation, Andhra Pradesh, Niranjan Panth, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources, and K. Siva Das, who is also convener, attended the meeting held by V. K. Jyothi, Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission, who is its chairman.

The meeting was held after a gap of one year amid agitations by farmers on both sides for water.

Nod for canal widening

The Board gave an in-principle clearance to a proposal put forth by Mr Prakash Rao, to widen the HLC for increasing its carrying capacity and thus ensure the State its rightful share. It was decided to form a committee with the Superintending Engineer, Anantapur, and another official of the same rank from Karnataka, to work out the modalities for expenditure and execution of works. It would submit its report in a month. It agreed to deploy Central Industrial Security Force men along the Karnataka stretch of the canals for patrolling to prevent of illegal tapping by farmers.

Farmers in Anantapur and Kurnool districts have been up in arms around this time of the year, complaining against meagre inflows. The HLC and the LLC are 205 km and 360 km long respectively with about 100 km of this lying in Karnataka. Owing to the alleged illegal drawals by Karnataka farmers, the HLC is carrying only 1,400 cusecs now against its share of 1,800 cusecs at this time of the year, and the LLC only 350 cusecs ( 650 cusecs).

`Delaying tactics'

Meanwhile, the Irrigation Minister, P. Lakshmaiah, told presspersons that Karnataka was using the issue of modernisation of Tungabhadra canals as a ruse to deny water to the State.

He reiterated that the State Government was prepared to contribute its share of Rs. 400 crores for the modernisation works.

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