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September 27, 1999
Patel seeks postponement of meeting on Cauvery
Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel has urged Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to postpone the September 29 Cauvery River Authority meeting to October 10 or 12. The CRA has been convened in the context of Tamil Nadu's demand for immediate release of water in the Cauvery as crops in the delta region has started withering.
Briefing newsmen after a cabinet meeting, state Rural Development and Information Minister M P Prakash said the chief minister had sought the postponement in view of his indifferent health and doctors' advice to him not to travel. He had also sought the postponement in order to maintain law and order in the state as polling was scheduled to take place on October 3 in five assembly constituencies.
Prakash said the state wanted the issue to be resolved amicably. The expert team, deputed by the prime minister and headed by the Central Water Resource Secretary Z Hasan was inspecting the reservoirs and the Cauvery basin areas in the state today. The team is expected to submit its report to the prime minister after visiting Tamil Nadu. He said there was no urgency to take a decision as the kuruvai crop in Tamil Nadu was ready for harvest and the transplantation of the samba crop was on.
Prakash said the chief minister, in reply to the intimation about the CRA meeting had faxed a letter to the prime minister today seeking its postponement. As it was the first meeting of the CRA, the chief minister wanted to attend it. Replying to a question he said the state had not sought postponement to gain time.
He said the team that visited the state today was not that of the monitoring committee of the CRA but one sent by the prime minister to ascertain the facts for himself. The state had no objection to the visit of the expert team as it could make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
Prakash said the state favoured an amicable solution and had never said "no" in the past for releasing water in the Cauvery to Tamil Nadu. The actual storage in the four basin reservoirs was only 68 TMC Ft as against the immediate requirement of 20 TMC Ft of water to the standing crops besides 110 TMC Ft needed till the year end. He said the state had between January and June this year released 27 TMC Ft of water to Tamil Nadu though according to the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's stipulations only 11 TMC Ft of water was to be released.
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