Tension over Hogenekkal project continues in Tamil Nadu

April 2nd, 2008 - 9:29 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Chennai, April 2 (IANS) The controversial Hogenekkal water project sparked a heated debate in the state assembly here Wednesday, cable operators decided not to screen Kannada channels and buses to Karnataka stood cancelled, worsening the month-long dispute between the two states. Deputy leader of opposition O. Pannerselvam, in the assembly, accused the ruling DMK government in Tamil Nadu of being “lazy” in solving river water disputes, leading to a heated debate on the Cauvery river water entitlement and the Hogenekkal drinking water project.

Pannerselvam said the DMK “should use its influence” to get its due share of water from the Cauvery river as it was part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) alliance at the Centre.

State Public Works Department Minister Durai Murugan then said that water “disputes with Karnataka and Kerala were in the Supreme Court now” and, therefore, “no pressure from the union government” would yield results.

Karnataka says the picturesque Hogenekkal waterfall, where the state’s major river Cauvery enters Tamil Nadu, belongs to it and that the neighbouring state’s water supply project will severely affect its interests.

Pro-Kannada activists in Bangalore Monday attacked cinema halls screening Tamil films, and protested Tamil Nadu’s decision to go ahead with the water supply project at Hogenekkal.

Tamil Nadu’s neighbour Puducherry, meanwhile, also decided to adopt a resolution in its legislative assembly “condemning the attack on Tamils in Karnataka”.

Parliament member M. Ramadoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi also urged “intervention of the Centre to put an end to the attack by the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike”.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Tuesday called for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention in the month-long dispute and the assembly adopted a resolution to this effect.

Members of the Tamil Desa Pothuvudamai Katchi, a pro-Tamil outfit, staged protests in Tiruchirapally and Thanjavur. They put up posters criticising the Karnataka government and even burst bus tyres.

Several Kannadiga restaurants in Chennai and other towns were reportedly ransacked, though no one was injured, police sources said.

Security was tightened at the Karnataka bus depot in Koyambedu, the interstate bus terminus in Chennai’s outskirts.

All bus services of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation to Karnataka were cancelled for two days, while buses of the Karnataka transport corporation, which had come to Chennai, did not return to their home state.

Hosur and other areas adjoining Karnataka remained tense. The Kannada Jagruthi Bevikae and its affiliate groups staged protests at several villages in the region.

Meanwhile, around 40,000 cable TV operators in Tamil Nadu decided to stop transmission of eight Kannada channels in the state. In Karnataka, Tamil channel telecasts were stopped Tuesday.

Said Kayal Ilavarasu, president of the cable TV association: “We have urged the MSOs (multi-service operators), Hathway and Sumangali Cable Vision, to cooperate in this regard.”

A delegation of the South India Film Chamber of Commerce said they would hold a hunger strike near the Chepauk cricket stadium Friday. The chamber has passed a resolution prohibiting its members from cooperating with Kannada movie producers with immediate effect.

The foundation stone for the Rs.13.3 billion project in Hogenakkal, funded by Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), was laid by Karunanidhi Feb 26.

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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