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September 23, 1999
TN cabinet holds emergency meeting on Cauvery
The Tamil Nadu cabinet held an emergency meeting this morning to discuss the state's strategy for tomorrow's meeting of the Cauvery River Authority's Monitoring Committee at New Delhi in the context of Karnataka's persistent refusal to heed Prime Minister A B Vajpayee's directive to immediately release Cauvery water.
The cabinet meeting held at the state secretariat in Madras and chaired by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, lasted about two hours.
The cabinet also reportedly discussed the steps to be taken in view of the threat to the standing kuruvai crop in the tail-end areas of the Cauvery delta region and the quick depletion of the storage in the Stanley reservoir across the river Cauvery at Mettur.
Chief Secretary A P Muthusamy and other officials are slated to attend tomorrow's meeting at Delhi and three ministers -- Durai Murugan, Veerapandi S Arumugam and Aladi Aruna -- will call on Vajpayee on Saturday and convey to him Tamil Nadu's demand for immediate release of Cauvery water.
Meanwhile, the water level in the Mettur reservoir slid to 43.78 feet this morning from 46.5 feet last evening. The inflow into the reservoir was 2,168 cusecs, while the discharge was maintained at 17,000 cusecs, according to reports received here.
Reports said the gopuram of the Jalakanteswarar temple, which lay submerged in the reservoir, and its Nandi were visible now following the depletion in the water level.
With the Cauvery water accord between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in danger of getting derailed, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has got into the mediatory act. He has directed that a meeting of the monitoring committee of the Cauvery River Water Authority be convened tomorrow.
Telephone calls from Vajpayee to Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel have not reduced Bangalore's intransigence. Karunanidhi, on his part, is sending three of his ministers to Delhi to meet Vajpayee. The highly politicised dispute has become convoluted as the major players are politically on the same side.
Meanwhile, opposition parties in Pondicherry have urged the Centre and the Union territory administration to press Karnataka to release Cauvery water for the Karaikal region to save the standing crops there.
A resolution adopted at an all-party meeting last night called for the constitution of a coordination committee comprising officials from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry to get six TMC feet of Cauvery water for Karaikal. Setting up of a flying squad with farmers' representatives was also suggested to monitor the inflow.
Another resolution urged the administration to provide adequate compensation to the affected farmers in the region.
Representatives of the Congress, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Dravidar Kazhagam participated in the meeting.
Additional reportage: UNI
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