Protest bandh held against dam being constructed by Karnataka
Shivani Chaturvedi | March 31, 2015 | Chennai
The dispute over Cauvery river water has taken many twists and turns over the years. The last week’s bandh in Tamil Nadu against the Karnataka government’s decision to construct a dam across the Cauvery river at Mekedatu is being seen as a wakeup call for the centre to resolve the Cauvery Water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Incidentally, Tamil Nadu is ruled by AIADMK and Congress is the ruling party in Karnataka.
PR Pandian, chief coordinator, Associations of Farmers in Tamil Nadu taking to Governance Now informed that the State’s MPs met prime minister Narendra Modi to urge the centre to stop Karnataka from going ahead with the project, as it would adversely affect farming and farmers in Tamil Nadu.
“But what I understand is the PM just said he would pursue the matter. Not much is forthcoming from the talks between MPs and the PM,” he said.
It was Associations of Farmers that gave a call for bandh on Saturday. It went off peacefully except for protests and demonstrations across the state.
Tension between the two states is once again swelling over Cauvery river water sharing with the Karnataka government’s decision to build a dam over the river at Mekedatu. Karnataka government has allocated Rs 25 crore for the detailed project report. But the farmers in Tamil Nadu fear that the dam would turn 22 districts of Tamil Nadu into a desert.
“A reservoir on Cauvery will turn 22 districts into a desert. Almost five crore people and 25 lakh acres of agricultural land would be affected if the dam is constructed,” claims Pandian.
Over three lakh farmers of delta region depend on Cauvery waters for irrigation. Tussle between the two states over sharing of river waters dates back to over 120 years and was resolved by the Supreme Court through a final award by the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal. It was notified by the government on Supreme Court orders in February 2013.
The tribunal had also recommended the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board/Authority on the lines of the Bhakra Beas Management Board for implementation of the order. But it has not yet been constituted. Tamil Nadu assembly also passed a resolution on Friday urging the centre to set up Cauvery board and Cauvery Water Regulatory Authority as was suggested by the tribunal.
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