Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday asserted cooperation between his state and neighbouring Telangana would ensure optimum utilisation of Godavari river water and hailed his counterpart K Chandrashekhar Rao as a "good man" taking steps for the "good" of Andhra.
Intervening during a discussion in the state assembly on Godavari water sharing, he said the two state governments would work together for optimum utilisation for mutual benefit.
"I can tell one thing. I may not have any love for KCR (as Telangana Chief Minister Rao is known popularly) but he is a good man. He is taking forward steps to do good for our state. It is essential for us to maintain cordial relationship with Telangana government," the Chief Minister said.
Jagan Reddy, however, said any decision would be taken after a thorough debate and keeping the best interests and future needs of the state in view.
"If we feel a certain decision will not do good for the state, why will we do that? We will certainly not take any such decision," he maintained.
During June-October period, the Chief Minister pointed out, about 3,000 tmc ft of water went down the drain (into the sea).
"If we can lift about four tmc ft of water per day when the river is in spate, we will be in a position to draw about 450-500 tmc ft in the 120-day period. Cooperation between the two states will ensure optimum utilization of water," he said.
He said the government would explore all options to ensure that Godavari waters were taken to the arid regions of the state.
"We are maintaining cordial relations with Telangana and discussing how best we can utilise Godavari water through bilateral agreements that are mutually beneficial," Mr Reddy said.
He pointed out that Andhra Pradesh was a lower riparian state and would not get any water unless the upper riparian states released it.
"We may file cases and fight but we should think about the outcome. We are seeing what is happening in respect of Krishna river waters," he said, referring to the dispute over sharing the river water between the two states.
Jagan Mohan Reddy also said the engineering of irrigation projects changed drastically.
Instead of dams, barrages are being built to store water and in the coming days the need for water will go up while supply will come down. In this backdrop, we have to work in tandem with the Telangana government to get water to Srisailam and Nagarjuna sagar, thereby ensuring supply to nine districts in our state, he added.
Leader of the Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu said water was a very sensitive issue and there would not be any problem when it was available in surplus.
"Trouble comes only when there is scarcity. Upper riparian states will not release water downstream in such a scenario," he pointed out.
He asked the government to discuss everything threadbare with farmers, engineers and all concerned before taking any decision, in the best interests of the state.
Mr Naidu assured the TDP would fully support the government's endeavours in this regard.