Muralidhara Khajane

Tamil Nadu officials express inability to attend meeting

The meeting was scheduled to be held on Friday

Non-release of funds cited as the reason

MYSORE: The much-awaited joint survey by the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Governments to put an end to the controversy over the control of an island near the famous Hogenakkal Falls, which was scheduled to commence by March-end, has been postponed indefinitely.

A preliminary meeting convened by head of the Joint Survey Committee (JSC) M. Shivamadaiah to finalise the framework of the joint survey in Mysore on March 14, has been postponed indefinitely as the revenue and survey officials of Tamil Nadu expressed their inability to attend the meeting owing to “administrative reasons.”

Mr. Shivamadaiah told The Hindu that he had received a letter from the Principal Secretary to Revenue Department, Tamil Nadu, expressing the inability of survey officials to participate in the preliminary meeting, which was scheduled for Friday in view of the delay by the Tamil Nadu Government in releasing the funds for conducting the survey.

“In view of this, it has been decided to postpone the preliminary meeting indefinitely,” he said.

“The Principal Secretary to the Revenue Department Tamil Nadu has also spoken to his counterpart in Karnataka in this regard,” he said.

When asked on the possible date of the next preliminary meeting, he said that revenue and survey officials were prepared to commence the survey immediately in case their Tamil Nadu counterparts cooperated. “We are consistently trying to commence the survey. But the Tamil Nadu Government is giving one or the other excuses,” he said.

While Karnataka is claiming that 400 acres of land near the falls is in its territory, Tamil Nadu is disputing it. A joint survey of the area was conducted by the officials of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka Survey and Settlement Departments. When officials from Tamil Nadu insisted that the land belonged to their State, their counterparts in Karnataka boycotted the survey. Despite efforts from Karnataka to commence a fresh survey, Tamil Nadu did not show interest in view of general election in 2005.

This development is likely to hamper the relationship between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, which is strained because of the move by the Tamil Nadu Government to take up Rs. 1,340-crore project to supply drining water to Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts by constructing reservoir in their part of Hogenakkal river.

Pro-Kannada organisations are up in arms against the Tamil Nadu Government’s move.