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TDP contradicts Ponnala's claim

Special Correspondent

`No steps taken to counter Maharashtra threat '

HYDERABAD: The Telugu Desam Party on Wednesday charged the Major Irrigation Minister, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, with misleading people by claiming to have taken up the issue of Maharashtra building barrages on the Godavari with the Central Water Commission.

Addressing a press conference, the TDP leaders -- K. Srihari and S. Maruthi -- said the top official of the Central Water Commission (CWC), Jayasheelan, had on Tuesday made it clear that it had not received any complaint or objection from the Andhra Pradesh Government nor formal application for clearance of barrages from the Maharashtra Government.

`Lukewarm response'

For yet another time, it reflected "the casual approach" of the Government towards issues affecting the interests of the State, they said. For reasons best known to him, there had been a lukewarm response from the Minister all through.

When the issue was first raised by the TDP on May 8, he dismissed it casually wondering why should the State object if a neighbouring State builds checkdams.

When the gravity of the situation was confirmed by the visit of officials, he merely shot off letters to Maharashtra, without any follow-up action of building pressure both on that State and the CWC. The Chief Minister,

Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, too did not keep his word given to a TDP delegation that he would hold an all-party meeting.

The State Government's response towards Karnataka's protests over projects on Krishna too was lackadaisical.

Karnataka's arguments before the new Krishna Water Tribunal looked strong and that of Andhra Pradesh weak. Both on technical and legal grounds, the State's argument was not effective. They had their own reservations over fielding of Sudarshan Reddy, who had resigned as Advocate-General, before the tribunal.

"When he had failed to properly argue the State's case before the High Court, how could he accomplish the task before the tribunal?" they wondered.

They made light of the Telugu film actress Vijayashanthi's attempts to fight for the cause of Telangana, saying: "It will be just another political experiment with the region and for deceiving its people."

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