August 23, 2016
When it comes to Cauvery and Karnataka, politicians of every hues in Tamil Nadu find themselves on the same side – condemning Karnataka for its refusal to give Tamil Nadu its rightful due in Cauvery water.
So it came as no surprise when politicians from every party condemned Karnataka chief minister S Sidharamaiah’s announcement in the Independence Day speech that his state would build a dam at Mekedatu on River Cauvery at a cost of Rs 5912 crore. This decision has enraged the already embittered politicians who are angry over Karnataka’s inability to give Tamil Nadu its rightful share of Cauvery river water as per the tribunal award.
This is leading to starving of farms in Southern Tamil Nadu, where farmers have resorted to bandhs and protests. The biggest of them is being planned for August 30 in protest of the water shortages in the region, which is due to reduced share coming from across the border. So, the farmers stir in Tamil Nadu has the support of all political parties, barring the ruling AIADMK, which hopes to exert enough pressure on the central government as also to move the Apex court to force Karnataka to implement the tribunal award in letter and spirit.
In the meanwhile politicians of all hues have blasted Karnataka chief minister, who said the dam would be built over river Cauvery to ensure adequate drinking water for Bengaluru. But politicians in Tamil Nadu do not accept this reasoning and suspect ulterior motives to starve Tamil Nadu of all water from Cauvery.
Even farmers in Tamil Nadu are agitated over the proposal of a dam that would eventually lead to extreme hardship for the farmers who may have to give up farming altogether in the region.
Farmers bandh slated for August 30, which has the support of all the political parties in Tamil Nadu barring the ruling AIADMK, is also against the impact of the proposed dam as also to demand release of water for their agricultural operations.
“If the dam is built at Mekedatu, Tamil Nadu will not get even a drop of watter,” said DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, who urged the AIADMK government to take the initiative and call for an all- party meeting on the issue as also to support the farmers agitation against the dam.
As it is Karnataka was releasing less water than was stipulated by the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, after meeting all its own requirements, Karunanidhi alleged and said famers in delta region could not grow rabi and kharif crops.
If under these circumstances Karnataka comes up with a dam, it would result in no water coming to Tamil Nadu, Karunanidhi said, reflecting the sentiments of most of the opposition parties. PMK chief S Ramadoss wanted chief minister Jayalalithaa to exert pressure on the centre so that Karnataka never gets the permission to build the dam.
MDMK general chief, Vaiko, suspects that centre was helping Karnataka as BJP leaders in Karnataka were working in tandem with their party leaders in central ministry to get the nod for the new dam over Cauvery.
Tamil Nadu PWD minister, EK Palaniswamy said, “the TN government will take all legal steps to uphold the rights of Tamil Nadu if Karnataka intended to implement any project without the consent of Tamil Nadu and against final award of the Cauvery Tribunal.”
Actually, in Tamil Nadu farmers are already in protest mode against reduced water supply for irrigation needs. The main objective of the bandhs was to put pressure on the central government to ensure release water due to Tamil Nadu from Karnataka, said Cauvery Delta All Farmers Associations’ Coordination Committee chief, PR Pandian.