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Cauvery row: Farmers launch fast, central team in B'lore

October 04, 2012 19:57 IST
Protests against release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu snowballed in the river basin areas on Thursday, as a central team arrived in Bangalore to assess the water storage levels.

Counter-protests also erupted in Tamil Nadu's Southern districts where farmers and political activists blocked trains at various places, demanding release of 2 tmc ft for delta areas as against 9,000 cusecs released by Karnataka.

In Mandya, the hotbed of Cauvery politics, farmers led by a body spearheading the stir, on Thursday began a relay fast and gave a call to all MLAs in the Cauvery basin districts to resign en masse.

President of the Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi G Madegowda, who is always at the forefront of the Cauvery agitation, ignored appeals from political leaders to give up fast considering his age and ill-health and lashed out at the Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar for "betraying" farmers and people.

"Kabini reservoir is empty now. The chief minister is inimical to farmers interest by increasing water flow into Tamil Nadu," Gowda, a former MP said addressing the gathering.   

Several parts of Mandya district observed an undeclared bandh with students boycotting classes and protesters picketing government offices.

Bangalore witnessed a spate of protests in various parts, which triggered off traffic snarls and effigies of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa were burnt.

In Tamil Nadu, farmers and members of parties like the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Viduthalai Siruthaigal Ammaippu and Nam Tamizhar Iyakkam blocked trains at Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam, Nagapattinam and other places.

Farmers said though water had been released from Mettur following good inflows after Karnataka started releasing water as per a Supreme Court directive, water had not reached the channels due to indiscriminate sand mining in the river beds.

As the Cauvery row intensified, a four-member central team led by CWC Director B P Pandey arrived in Bangalore for an on the spot assessment of the water storage level in Cauvery basin.

The other members of the team chief engineer of the Union water

resources Jacob, Dr P K Shah (deputy commissioner of water resources) and D Rangareddy, director of the water resources ministry also reached the city.

Officials of Karnataka Cauvery Neeravari Nigam (Irrigation Corporation) said, the team would interact with officials of the state and visit Cauvery basin districts on Friday.

The farmers gheraoed Opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah when he arrived in Mandya to participate in the relay fast blaming the Congress for failing to impress on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the water scarcity in the state.

In Chennai, a team led by Union Water Resources Secretary D V Singh held discussions with Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi and others on issues regarding reservoir levels and status of standing crops dependent on Cauvery water.

Singh told reporters that the team will visit the Cauvery delta area and submit its report to the central government in about four days.

The Karnataka government began releasing water after the Supreme Court asked it to abide by the September 19 directive of the Cauvery River Authority, headed by the PM till October 15.

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