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Maharashtra's “excuses” on Babli to be exposed

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The State Government will urge the Centre to prevail upon Maharashtra to remove the gates erected on the Babli project in violation of the interim orders of the Supreme Court.

The Government intends to bring to the notice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the “lame excuses” and “wrong information” being furnished by the neighbouring State, which was going ahead with the construction of Babli and 15 more “illegal projects” across the Godavari, ignoring the orders of the Central Water Commission, Central Government and the apex court.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah convened an all party meeting on Sunday ahead of the crucial meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with him and Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan at New Delhi on Monday. The Government decided to focus on the illegal projects and diversion of water by Maharashtra in violation of the agreements reached between the two States.

The Opposition parties, including the TDP, the Left, Praja Rajyam, BJP and Lok Satta, wanted the Government to insist on a political solution as efforts on legal and technical grounds would not help in achieving the desired goal. While the TDP had set a 15-day deadline for the Government to find an amicable solution to the Babli dispute failing which it would intensify its agitation, the other parties suggested that the Government impress upon the Centre the need to establish a permanent mechanism, a regulatory body to monitor utilisation of water by all the riparian States, to avoid recurrence of inter-State disputes in future.

‘Sonia should intervene'

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu demanded that AICC president Sonia Gandhi intervene in the matter to direct the Maharashtra Government against harming the interests of the lower riparian States.

“It is not proper on her part to take positive things in her stride leaving aside the disputes. She should intervene wherever necessary to protect the interests of Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, however, dismissed Mr. Naidu's request claiming that the Opposition leader was trying to “politicise” the issue.

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