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TN puts Hogenakkal project on hold
April 05, 2008 12:39 IST
Last Updated: April 05, 2008 14:44 IST
Tamil Nadu on Saturday put on hold the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project, ending a week- long standoff between the state and neighbouring Karnataka over the issue, which had sparked violence in both the states.
In a statement, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said his government would wait till a popular government was installed in Karnataka after the May assembly polls and hoped that the new ministry would abide by the 1998 agreement to implement the water project.
"Let bygones be bygones. Let the future be bright. We will wait till President's rule in Karnakata comes to an end and an elected government assumes charge after the polls. Let us wait for a few days only. I hope that a popular government will understand our demand and abide by the 1998 agreement to implement the scheme," Karunanidhi said.
"If the situation continues even after the polls there, we will tell the world that Tamils, even at the cost of their lives, will not be people without self respect. We will wait till a popular government is in place there. I expect the co-operation of the new government for the scheme," he said.
The Rs 1334 crore project, for which Karunanidhi laid the foundation stone in February, triggered off a political storm in Karnakata with pro-Kannada groups and political parties resorting to protests, objecting to its implementation.
The project envisages supply of Cauvery water to fluorosis affected Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu.
Karunanidhi's decision is seen as an apparent bid to help his ally Congress in Karnataka before the polls, as the scheme has snowballed into a major election issue there.
His statement was aimed at cooling down frayed tempers in both states, where agitating parties have sought the Centre's intervention for an amicable settlement.
Karunanidhi, in his statement, said that those who had faith in the integrity and soveregnity of the nation would never accept the present "anguish among the people of Tamil Nadu developing into a permanent hatred", that too when Karnataka is gripped with poll fever.
"I do not want any unfortunate violence to have an impact at the present juncture," he said.
"Let us wait till the Karnataka polls are over. We will sit and talk after that and agitate if there is a need. I hope that there will not be any need for that and the country's unity will be preserved," he said, adding, "Our just cause will definitely win."
Karunanidhi said some political parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party, with an eye on the assembly polls, had indulged in violence after he laid the foundation stone for the project.
"I do not think a government which will deny even drinking water, will come to power in Karnataka."
He said his plea for co-operation for implementation of the scheme had not succeeded. The violence on Tamils in Karnataka had its echo in Tamil Nadu, he said, referring to violent incidents in some parts of the state.
He thanked political parties and film personalities in Tamil Nadu for taking up the issue.