Tamil stars fast against Karnataka’s stand on Hogenekkal project

April 4th, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

Chennai, April 4 (IANS) Rajnikant was there, and Kamal Haasan walked in too Friday as Tamil film stars belonging to various unions went on a daylong fast against Karnataka’s objections to the drinking water project in Hogenekkal, on the border between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Amongst the other prominent film personalities participating in the protest were Prabhu, Prakash Raj, Sathyraj and yesteryear star Manorama as well as actors-turned-politicians Vijaykanth and Sarath Kumar.

The presence of the entire film industry resulted in fans choking traffic along the approach towards the state’s secretariat in Fort St George.

The Rs.13.3 billion Hogenekkal Water Supply and Fluorosis Mitigation Project, funded by the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), is expected to benefit about three million people in Dharmapuri, about 350 km from here, and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka, which is headed for assembly polls next month, is opposed to the project saying its share of the Cauvery waters will be affected.

The presence of Rajnikant, who belongs to Karnataka and has business interests in Bangalore, surprised many.

Vijaykanth pointed out that the common person’s right to drinking water was non-negotiable.

“Our constitution and legal tomes have clearly said that no one on earth can stop an ordinary man’s access to drinking water. And it is not as though we are stealing Karnataka’s share of the water. The sad truth is that we are being threatened against using our water within our borders,” Vijaykanth said.

What began as an opposition to the water supply project in January has since morphed into Karnataka’s claim over the border districts of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri besides the picturesque Hogenekkal falls.

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