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September 28, 1999
Rains cool tempers over Cauvery
The Tamil Nadu government is unperturbed by the postponement of the Cauvery River Authority meeting scheduled for tomorrow as the inflow of water into the Mettur reservoir has increased five-fold, thanks to the rains.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was happy that the inflow into the reservoir, which was a paltry 2,024 cusecs (thousand million cubic feet) till yesterday, had increased to 10,592 cusecs owing to the rains in some parts of Tamil Nadu and the catchment areas in Karnataka.
This had helped the government to maintain the release of water from Mettur at the rate of 15,000 cusecs a day, he said, adding that it now had no proposal to close the dam's sluices on September 30 as planned earlier.
Talking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting to discuss the Cauvery issue and the problems faced by farmers in the river's delta, Karunanidhi, however, kept up the momentum and urged his Karnataka counterpart J H Patel to release "at least some water" before the CRA meeting.
Patel, who was recovering from jaundice, had telephoned Karunandhi and explained his reasons for seeking postponement of the meeting.
While leaving it to the Centre's discretion to convene the CRA next, Karunanidhi sent a note to Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to prevail upon Karnataka to release water at the earliest.
Meanwhile, a three-member expert team led by Central Water Resources Secretary Z Hasan assessed the position at Mettur today.
Hasan's observation that there is no threat to the crops in Karnataka should strengthen Tamil Nadu's case for release of water into the Mettur reservoir.
Volunteers of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and its allies, including the Left parties, staged demonstrations all over Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry to protest against the failure of the central and state governments to protect the interests of farmers.
The state government has been taking a series of steps to save the standing kuruvai crops, but ultimately, as Karunanidhi put it, Nature came to the farmers' rescue.
The weather office has forecast widespread rain in north Tamil Nadu and scattered rains in south Tamil Nadu in the next 24 hours.
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