Special Correspondent

Irrespective of whether State gets Japanese aid or not

CHENNAI: The State Government will implement the Hogenekkal combined water supply scheme, irrespective of whether it receives Japanese aid or not, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Intervening in the debate on the Budget, Mr. Karunanidhi responded to an observation by Pattali Makkal Katchi legislator T.K. Raja (Tirupattur-Vellore district). He said the Government, which had approached Japanese authorities for funding the scheme, was awaiting their response. C. Gnanasekaran (Congress) wanted the scheme to be extended to Vellore.

(The 1,005-crore Hogenekkal Water Supply Scheme, which the Finance Minister in his Budget speech described as the only solution for the drinking water problems of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, has been recommended by the Centre to Japan Bank for International Co-operation by the Centre for financial assistance. Recently, a team of experts from the Bank conducted preliminary appraisal of the project in the districts.)

No hardship will be caused, in the immediate run, to farmers of Amaravathi and Bhavani sub-basins in the wake of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's final award, Public Works Department Minister Durai Murugan said.

He was responding to the concern expressed by nominated member Oscar C. Nigli. The Tribunal had allowed Tamil Nadu to use water allocated to Kerala till the neighbouring State was able to utilise it fully, the Minister said.

The yield of the Amaravathi [in Kerala] was 8000 million cubic feet, of which 1 tmcft was being used by Kerala.

Two more tmcft had been allocated to the neighbouring State. The remaining 5 tmcft would flow down to Tamil Nadu. The capacity of the Amaravathi dam was 4 tmcft.

As for the Bhavani, Kerala had been using 1 to 1.5 tmcft. It was entitled to 2.5 tmcft for irrigation at Attappady [under a pact between the two States]. So, Tamil Nadu had argued before the Tribunal that Kerala could be given 4 tmcft. But, 6 tmcft was earmarked.

The Minister said the Government was contemplating approaching the Tribunal on legal and technical grounds of these issues.