Jayalalithaa responds to Karunanidhi’s observations

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday asserted that the State got 10,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of Cauvery water from Karnataka during September 12 to 20 only because it approached the Supreme Court.

Only after the State filed a petition that crop in the State was getting affected due to non-release of water by the Karnataka government, the Supreme Court not only directed [the Union government] that the Cauvery River Authority hold a meeting but also asked Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs.

As regards the ruling given by Prime Minister-Chairman of the Authority to Karnataka to issue 9,000 cusecs for 25 days, the Chief Minister explained that the quantum was less than what the court had given. Moreover, even as per distress sharing formula, Karnataka should provide two thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) a day for 24 days to Tamil Nadu, she explained in a statement.

Ms. Jayalalithaa was responding to observations made by former Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi that she should have accepted the ruling of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. She criticised the DMK leader for having let down the State on the Cauvery issue while in power.

On the problem of power shortage, the Chief Minister blamed the previous DMK regime for not having firmed up long-term power purchase agreements. Had this been done, even today, power would have been available at less than Rs. 3 per unit. Also, considering congestion in the Southern Transmission Corridor, Tamil Nadu would have been permitted to get power under the Long Term Open Access, which was allowed to other southern States.

As a result of the failure of the previous government, despite having an arrangement of getting 500 megawatt (MW) from Gujarat, 235 MW was only available. Besides, there were pacts for getting 1,600 MW from other States but only 81 MW was being sourced.

Ms. Jayalalithaa pointed out that when power was being sold at a rate of Rs. 3 per unit in the power exchanges for northern States, the prevailing rate in the south was over Rs. 12 per unit.

There was an acute deficit of power throughout the country, especially in southern States. So, there was no way to get power from power-surplus States.

She also stated that as soon as normality returned to Kudankulam, the State government would implement its package of Rs. 500 crore for the development of the area.

On the issue of diesel price hike, she wanted Mr. Karunanidhi to clarify whether his son and Union Minister M.K. Alagiri, also a member of the Cabinet Committee for Political Affairs in the Union government, had expressed his opposition to the move or consent to the hike proposal or absented himself from the meeting.

On the question of foreign direct investment in retail trade, the DMK leader, through his reply to a reporter’s query, supported the Centre’s decision, Ms. Jayalalithaa contended.

Accusing Mr. Karunanidhi of indulging in “captious objections” and issuing conflicting statements in response to her decisions that were aimed at defending rights of Tamils, Ms. Jayalalithaa urged him not to issue hereafter such statements in the interests of the people.