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CAUVERY WATER ISSUE

Central team to visit Tamil Nadu, Karnataka to assess water needs

Wednesday 27 July 2005

Jayalalithaa urges Manmohan to call meeting of Cauvery River Authority immediately

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SEEKS WATER: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at a meeting at Parliament House in New Delhi on Tuesday. - Photo: PTI

NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said on Tuesday that she had no intention of going in for snap polls in the State and had an "open mind" on alliances for the coming Assembly elections.

At a press conference after she met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to urge him to direct Karnataka to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the Centre would despatch a team of officials to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ensure that the water requirements of farmers were met.

On the question of alliances, she said: "There is still plenty of time to think about alliances. I prefer not to discuss the subject, though I have an open mind."

Asked whether she had softened her stance towards the Congress, she said: "I have mellowed with age."

Asked whether the AIADMK could go it alone in an era of coalition politics, she said: "It is an era of coalition politics at the Centre, not in States." Ms. Jayalalithaa said she had no intention of meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

On the Cauvery issue, she hoped Ms. Gandhi would "do her duty" and ask Karnataka to release the stipulated quantum to Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Minister said she impressed upon the Prime Minister the need for "urgent action" to ensure water release as per the interim order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal to ensure that farmers in the delta region started operations for the kuruvai crop.

She requested the Prime Minister to immediately convene a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority chaired by him.

Deficit in release

Ms Jayalalithaa informed the Prime Minister that Karnataka had not implemented the interim order "even once" since it was passed in 1991. What Tamil Nadu got was "overflows" from Karnataka reservoirs.

The deficit in release on July 25 this year was 24.32 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft). Mettur dam should have got 45.08 tmcft, whereas the receipt was 21.48 tmcft.

"Water should be released from the Krishna Sagar and Kabini reservoirs immediately to make up the deficit. The storage in the Karnataka reservoirs on July 25 was 70.25 tmcft, and they are getting more and more water every day," she said.

In answer to a question, Ms Jayalalithaa said she asked for the deficit to be made up by August 10; "otherwise it would be too late’’.

According to her, "there is distress in Tamil Nadu, whereas in Karnataka the position is comfortable." The Prime Minister told her that he was in touch with Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh.

He shared her concern over the situation of farmers and said the delta farmers could not raise their crop, if immediate action was not taken.

He indicated that an equitable solution would be found.

Ms Jayalalithaa said she had taken up the issue with Mr. Dharam Singh at the recent meeting of the National Development Council and had even written to him.

"We have sought an appointment with him for our senior Ministers. He has given us appointment for August 2."

Charging Karnataka politicians with politicising the issue, she said: "The tragedy was that whichever party is at the Centre is also in power in Karnataka or has political stakes in that State. This is a reason that Tamil Nadu’s interests are sacrificed."

Referring to a DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance meeting the Prime Minister on Monday, Ms. Jayalalithaa said she sought an appointment for Monday but could meet Dr. Singh only on Tuesday.

On all parties in the State coming together on the issue, she said: "If others are willing to join me, I’ll be happy".

See online : The Hind

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