Farmers of Tamil Nadu have expressed shock and dismay over the failure of talks between the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on the Cauvery row held in Bangalore on Thursday.
They termed “inhuman” the refusal of Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu. The food security and livelihood of farmers of Cauvery delta districts were under threat, they said and hoped that the Supreme Court, which would hear the matter on November 30, would come to the rescue of Tamil Nadu farmers. Mannargudi S. Ranganathan and Mahadhanapuram V. Rajaram, general secretary and working president of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, observed that Karnataka could have as well told Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa not to visit Bangalore if it was determined not to give water to the State which is facing one of the worst seasons in its history.
There would be a “total crop failure” if rains were also failed in the next few days. The delta, which had been an irrigated area, had now become a “rainfed area,” thanks to Karnataka and the Centre, they lamented. They expressed the hope that Tamil Nadu would impress upon the Supreme Court on Friday the grave situation prevailing in the delta, including farmers’ suicides due to withering crops, and get a favourable order for release of water. “Otherwise farmers would be left with no other option but to launch a major struggle from December 7,” they added.
Cauvery V. Dhanaplan, general secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Protection Association, observing that the failure of talks was quite expected, asserted that any more talks would be an exercise in futility. He was unhappy that the Supreme Court had failed to take any categorical stand on the Cauvery water row, on the Mullaperiyar imbroglio and on the Palar issue. “The Centre is silently watching the situation, a grave threat to the integrity of the nation. The delta, which ensures 52 per cent of food for the State, is in distress and needs water for at least 60 to 90 days to save the crop. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to save the e crops.” Aarupathy P. Kalyanam, general secretary, Federation of the Farmers’ Association of Delta Districts, said “if Karnataka had agreed to release at least 4.81 tmcft as ordered by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee, it would have been a consolation.” He wanted the Supreme Court to put an end to this annual ordeal by clearly defining the “season” and “distress sharing formula.” Besides, Karnataka should not be allowed to go in for summer irrigation, the root cause of the current problem. Karnataka should not be allowed to have full control over the Cauvery which is an inter-State river and Central government should invoke Article 355 to direct Karnataka to release water. V. Durai Manickam, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam affiliated to CPI, said that talks had failed 22 times in the past. Karnataka should have considered the emergency situation that prevailed in Cauvery delta and helped to save standing samba crop.
K. Balakrishnan, Chidambaram MLA and former general secretary of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam affiliated to CPI(M), said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister should convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue now.