Small wonder then that not only the States of Karnataka and Maharashtra but the people of Telangana and Rayalaseema as well have always nursed a fully justified grievance about the distribution of the Krishna river waters. And even though there is no allocable water left in the Krishna river in terms of the Bachawat award, proposals aimed at watering the parched lands of Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Cuddapah and Anantapur districts have been put forward in abundance. And the State government too, at various points of time – if only at election time in most cases - has promised execution each of these proposals. Not counting the minor proposals, the major ones alone would need about 200 tmc.ft of water: 40 each for the Srisailam Left Bank Canal (Nalgonda district), Bheema, Nettempadu, Kalwakurthi & other lift irrigation schemes (Mahbubnagar district), Galeru-Nagari and Handri-Neeva (for the four Rayalaseema districts), and Veligonda (the uplands of Markapuram division of Prakasam district). The profusion of the demands reflects the stark reality of heart-breaking drought in these areas.from this article ('Pulichintala - A Test Case', by K.Balagopal) at the site which isn't small enough enough to think beyond rights that i had referred to yesterday.
i'd talked about perspective here, in response to some comments. going back to the article, let's look at balagopal's perspective:
According to a note circulated by the Irrigation department in the year 1998, the Pulichintala project is slated to use 982 million cubic meters of water from the Krishna river, which comes to about 13 tmc.ft. One tmc.ft of water is sufficient to irrigate six thousand to ten thousand acres, depending on whether it is used for wet cultivation or `irrigated dry’ cultivation. Taking the latter, these 13 tmc.ft of water would irrigate 1.3 lakh acres of land. How happy would any of the above districts from Nalgonda to Anantapur be to get at least this much irrigation water, though it is nothing compared to the 20 lakh acres that would be irrigated by all the projects all of them taken together have been dreaming of for decades now!krishna, and unsolvable problems like pulichintala have fuelled discontent in telangana for a very long period. but how is balagopal's perspective different from how those on the other side of the krishna think? from the perspective of the farmers in the delta, who wouldn't share any water even with their neighbours, leave alone those on the other side? when a discussion on rights doesn't start with drinking water and wet toilets, or universally recognized human rights, for the largest number of people, i don't see how even any reallocation of water between regions, would solve any problems. inequality is embedded deep in this perspective: higher needs should be met first. so, it's always the upper caste paddy farmer, in the three regions, whose 'parched lands' would be recognized first. millions of parched throats, in hundreds of villages all along the krishna basin region, can only wait forever. does the separatist movement look beyond this casteist perspective? or at a future beyond agriculture (as defined by the green revolution)?
And what use is this project going to be put to? Not even to irrigate 1.3 lakh acres of as yet unirrigated land in Krishna district, but to ensure that transplantation of paddy in the Krishna delta under the old canal system takes place in June-July. Almatti in Karnataka and increased ayacut under Nagarjunasagar in upland Guntur and Nalgonda districts are said to have slowed down the arrival of water into the Prakasam barrage in the early monsoon weeks, thereby rendering transplantation of paddy in the months of June and July uncertain, and therefore 13 tmc.ft of water will be stored in the balancing reservoir at Pulichintala to be sent down to the Prakasam barrage at the appointed time so that the schedule of transplantation that the delta farmers are accustomed to is not upset. What solicitude!