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October 11, 2001
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Cauvery meet ends in deadlock

A high-level meeting to decide on immediate release of Cauvery waters ended in a deadlock on Wednesday with drought-hit Karnataka rejecting Tamil Nadu's demand for more water.

Karnataka's stand led Tamil Nadu to brand the Cauvery River Authority, headed by the Prime Minister, 'a toothless and powerless body'.

"The decision of the authority was to leave the farmers of Tamil Nadu to the fate of Rain God," a visibly upset Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam told reporters after nearly two and half hour meeting of the Authority convened by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Asked whether the Authority headed by the Prime Minister has done injustice to Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister said, "Neither Karnataka has listened to Tamil Nadu's plea nor did the Authority help in solving the problem."

Accusing Karnataka of 'totally disobeying the spirit of the accord and desire of the Authority', Tamil Nadu Finance Minister C Ponnaiyan said that the state government would soon evolve a strategy on the issue.

Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna, however, staunchly disagreed with Tamil Nadu contention and said that the state had provided 27 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu during the last one month, which was almost equivalent to Tamil Nadu's demand of one tmcft of water per day.

Expressing inability to give more water to Tamil Nadu, Krishna said 42 of the 46 talukas in the Cauvery basin were in the grip of drought.

Meanwhile, in a move to placate Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister assured the meeting that 'should a situation of distress arise, I would like to assure that the Authority will meet at short notice and provide whatever is possible'.

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