Just hours before Telangana went to polls, Andhra Pradesh took charge of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam and began releasing water, leading to tensions between the two states. At around 2 am on Thursday, when most Telangana officials were busy with the polls, nearly 700 Andhra cops stormed into the project and opened the right canal to release 500 cusecs of Krishna water per hour.
“We are releasing water from Nagarjunasagar right canal on Krishna river for the drinking water purposes,” Andhra Pradesh state irrigation minister Ambati Rambabu posted a cryptic message on X on Thursday morning.
But the minister then clarified that they have only taken water that belongs to the state according to the treaty between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
“We have not flouted any treaty. 66% of Krishna water belongs to Andhra Pradesh and 34% to Telangana. We have not used even a single drop of water that does not belong to us. We tried to open our canal in our territory. This water is rightfully ours,” Mr Rambabu told the media.
With tensions flaring, the Centre has stepped in and urged both states to revert to the release of Nagarjuna Sagar waters as of November 28. The proposal was made by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla during a video conference with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Both states have agreed to the plan.
To avoid further conflict, the dam will be supervised by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) which will also oversee that both sides are getting water as per the deal.
The incident came to light on Thursday when Telangana Chief Secretary Santhi Kumari alleged that about 500 armed policemen from Andhra Pradesh came to Nagarjuna Sagar Dam and damaged the CCTV cameras and released about 5,000 cusecs of water by opening the head regulators located at gate number 5 and 7.
The move by Andhra Pradesh created “law and order issues” in Telangana subsequently, when polling for the state assembly elections was going on, she said, expressing concern that it would seriously disrupt the drinking water supply of two crore people of Hyderabad and surrounding areas.
Two cases were registered against Andhra Police in Nalgonda district of Telangana.
In 2015, the Andhra Police had made a similar effort to barge into the dam, but Telangana security forces rushed to the spot and prevented the attempt.