By defying the orders of both the Cauvery River Authority and the Supreme Court on releasing 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till October 20, the Karnataka government has embarked on a collision course with the constitutional authorities. The court should recommend the dismissal of the BJP government in Karnataka as it is encouraging mobocrisy in the State, in utter contempt of the rule of law.
It is quite shocking that the Cauvery issue has been politicised. It drags on like the India-Pakistan border issue. Even if experts solve the problem for us, our politicians will not allow it to be solved as their livelihood depends on such issues hanging fire.
India is a federation. Karnataka is not a kingdom by itself. I am also pained at the attitude of persons like External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who appealed to the Prime Minister to stop the supply of water to Tamil Nadu. Manmohan Singh has rightly rejected the appeal to review the CRA decision. Yet, Karnataka has refused to release water to Tamil Nadu. Are we heading towards anarchy?
That even religious leaders from Karnataka have joined the stir against releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu is surprising. Are they not expected to preach universal brotherhood? Can they divide people over sharing of river waters that are life-giving and a natural resource to be shared by all equitably and fairly?
Is it fair on the part of the Karnataka government to stop the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu? Is water a national resource or does it belong to a particular State? If Cauvery water belongs to Karnataka, why use the river path in Tamil Nadu for draining it? Can Tamil Nadu argue that the natural resource from Neyveli and the power generated by the Kudankulam plant will be utilised for the State alone?
The Cauvery water dispute has been a burning issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for decades, with the alarming degree of emotional outbursts blended with unscrupulous political calculations. We need to have a more pragmatic approach to the issue. The Centre should issue a white paper after extensive study on the area of farmland in both the States, and quantify the land and water, besides the details about the crops the farmers are entitled to grow. Although no State has the right to hold water unlawfully, it is common sense that any natural resource, water, oil or minerals, metals or forest, by default, belongs to the people in the area. The thinking that the poor are good and the rich are bad — one who holds back is a robber and one who seeks is an aggrieved party — is simplistic and not necessarily right.
Nagaraj S. Bhadrashetty,
Today, we find fault with Mr. Krishna’s “chauvinistic” approach (Letters, Oct. 9). But nobody has ever appreciated the non-chauvinistic and magnanimous approach of Karnataka till 1974. The 50-year agreement in 1924 between the Madras presidency and the princely state of Mysore should have become null and void after the formation of Madras and Mysore in 1956. But the agreement was honoured and Mysore’s name was changed to Karnataka only in 1974. When a fresh agreement that was beneficial to both the States was arrived at in 1974, the DMK went on the rampage. Since then, emotions and politics have driven the dispute. Karnataka Ministers never used their power to their advantage. It was only after several taunts from the people of his district that Mr. Krishna reluctantly made the appeal to the Prime Minister.