Karnataka-Tamil Nadu tiff over water supply project worsens

March 31st, 2008 - 5:51 pm ICT by admin  

Hogenekkal (Tamil Nadu) March 31 (IANS) The month-long dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over a Rs.13 billion water supply project worsened Monday, following protests by volunteers of a political party here against “invasion from the neighbouring state”. Flag-waving protestors of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) burnt effigies of former Karnataka chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B.S. Yediyurappa. They demanded the deployment of central paramilitary forces to “safeguard” their “interests”.

Karnataka-based rightwing political elements have laid claim on part of this village, situated 350 km south west of Chennai. Political parties in Karnataka, specially the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have earlier alleged that the Tamil Nadu government has begun “illegally” building a dam across the river Cauvery near Hogenakkal on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.

The location is known for its salubrious climate and picturesque waterfalls. Karnataka leaders have claimed that a 400-acre island at the point where the Cauvery enters Tamil Nadu to form the picturesque Hogenakkal waterfall is part of their state.

“The inflow of tourists - as important to our livelihood as the Cauvery water that descends here from the waterfalls - has seen a downturn due to the invasion by chauvinist (former) Karnataka chief minister (and his) attempt to usurp real estate rightfully belonging to Tamil Nadu,” said K. Rajesh, a VCK demonstrator.

“He (Yediyurappa) is trying to stop the water supply project that will quench parched throats in the districts of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri. To safeguard our interests we demand deployment of central paramilitary forces here immediately. We will also stop all agent provocateurs coming here under disguise of tourists,” he added.

The foundation stone for the Rs.13.3 billion scheme, funded by Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), was laid by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Feb 26.

Yediyurappa had led a group of demonstrators who decried Tamil Nadu’s attempts to steal the neighbouring state’s water on March 16. The waterfall in the region bordering Karnataka attracts thousands of tourists every year.

The Hogenakkal Water Supply and Fluorosis Mitigation Project is expected to cover 6,755 households in three municipal areas, 17 panchayats and 18 small towns, benefiting about three million people.

Safe drinking water would be provided from the waterfall to the fluoride-affected towns and villages in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts bordering Karnataka.

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