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September 18, 1999
TN govt questions Centre's assertion on Cauvery water release
The Tamil Nadu government today took strong exception to the Union government's reported stand that Tamil Nadu had received satisfactory inflows of Cauvery river water in August on the basis of flow measurements made at Biligundlu.
Responding to a report published in a Madras-based English daily, an official release said the mention of satisfactory inflows presented a misleading picture since it was silent about the cumulative deficit of 17.6 tmc-ft as on August 31 last. The release pointed out that the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal, while ordering the release of 205 tmc-ft every year at the Mettur Reservoir as per the prescribed monthly and weekly flows, had repeatedly rejected Karnataka's claim to take the measurements at Biligundlu. The tribunal has gone to the extent of stating that if Biligundlu measurements were to be taken, Tamil Nadu's annual entitlement of Cauvery water would be 227 tmc-ft at Biligundlu.
The release asserted that since the tribunal had ordered supply of 205 tmc-ft at Mettur Dam every year, the mention of measurements at Biligundlu is improper in so far as the implementation of the tribunal's interim order goes. It pointed out that the cumulative deficit in the supply of Cauvery water, which was 17.6 tmc-ft as on August 31 last, has risen to 28.7 tmc-ft as on September 17 last. It would have been appropriate for the Union government to indicate this cumulative deficit also to present the correct picture, the release stated, adding that Tamil Nadu had taken up this issue with the Union government.
Meanwhile, concerned over maintaining irrigation for the Kuruvai and Samba crops in the Cauvery Delta region, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today deputed public works minister Durai Murugan and agriculture minister Veerapandi Arumugam to the delta region for an on-the-spot study and report back to him.
Karunanidhi took the decision after holding a high-level meeting of ministers and officials at the state secretariat in Madras this morning. Apart from Durai Murugan and Arumugam, electricity minister Arcot N Veerasamy and chief secretary A P Muthusamy and officials of the public works and agriculture departments were present at the meeting.
Karunanidhi discussed the memoranda received from various farmers' associations seeking release of more Cauvery water and study reports sent by the collectors of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts.
However, the Congress in Karnataka today urged the state government not to succumb to pressure from the Prime Minister's Office and release Cauvery water as demanded by Tamil Nadu.
Talking to newsmen in Bangalore, party state president S M Krishna said the PMO was exerting pressure on the state to come to the aid of Tamil Nadu. "This is a dangerous development from irrigation point of view", he said, adding that rains have failed in the Cauvery basin during the last one and a half months and the farmers in the region were in distress.
He said the present tangle had clearly proved that the BJP-led government at the Centre had not solved the century-old Cauvery water dispute. His party had been consistently stating that the solution found at the intervention of Prime Minister A B Vajpayee was not a real one. Krishna asserted that if the Congress was voted to power both at the Centre and the state it would give top most priority for implementation of a national water policy, which alone could provide a meaningful solution to various river water disputes bugging the country for centuries.
Krishna said there could not be any meaningful enforcement of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal's orders till there was a realistic appraisal of the situation.
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