Krishna, Baalu take Cauvery dispute to PM’s door

April 2nd, 2008 - 11:20 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) The standoff between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the latter’s decision to go ahead with a water project on the Cauvery river near the interstate border Wednesday landed at Prime minister Manmohan Singh’s door. Former Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna, who is eyeing the chair for a second time when the state goes to polls in May, sought the prime minister’s intervention and stoppage to the project.

Close on Krishna’s heels, Shipping and Surface Transport Minister T.R Baalu, the points man of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, also petitioned the prime minister, arguing for the continuation of the project.

The Hogenakkal project will draw water from the Cauvery river to provide drinking water to the two drought-hit districts of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu.

Krishna later told reporters that he had asked the central government to “exert” its influence on Tamil Nadu to put the project on hold.

“Since there is no elected government in Karnataka now and within two months a popular government will take office, the project should not be allowed to go through,” he said.

“The harsh language used by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, whom we consider an elder statesman, has naturally provoked the people of Karnataka. Karunanidhi is responsible for the unhealthy developments in Karnataka,” Krishna said, referring to the violence in his state.

The prime minister, on his part, reminded Krishna that the Hogenakkal project was taken up during the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime. He, however, promised to have a dialogue with all parties concerned.

Baalu told Manmohan Singh that it was the central government which had given the green signal for the project and all necessary clearances from the ministries of environment and forests, urban affairs and rural development.

The Rs.13.34 billion project will be routed through the Japan Bank International Cooperation (JBIC).

Speaking to reporters, Baalu said that stalling a drinking water project, especially when there was so much of water scarcity, was “highly deplorable”.

He alleged that Karnataka was opposing the project for petty political gains.

The Tamil Nadu assembly Tuesday passed a resolution condemning the violence in Karnataka, where pro-Kannada groups opposed to the project, attacked theatres screening Tamil movies.

The resolution urged the central government to “maintain the sovereignty and integrity of the nation”.

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