Mindless acts of vandalism have erupted in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the Hogenakkal drinking water project — an issue settled as early as 1998 by the two States. The tendency of politicians to fish in troubled waters is well known. But it is sad that they are fanning hatred among the people on both sides. It is hoped saner and wiser counsel will prevail and senior politicians will appeal to the people to stop the escalation of the crisis.
R. Ramachandra Rao,
It was BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa who lit the fire by crossing over to Tamil Nadu with his supporters and demanding a halt to the drinking water project. The media and the critics seem to be glossing over his role. It is unfair to blame the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for the situation. He only reiterated his government’s resolve to complete the project.
A veteran leader of Mr. Karunanidhi’s stature should have thought of the consequences of his statement. He knew full well that all parties would seize the issue, given that the Assembly polls in Karnataka are in the offing. Regional disputes and chauvinistic tendencies are on the rise in different States. If they are allowed to grow unchecked, a day may come when the States will go to war, mobilising their armies.
Devendra L. Abbigeri,
The Cauvery row always provokes anger and resentment in Karnataka because a biased water-sharing agreement that favoured the Madras Presidency was imposed by the British on the dependent Maharaja of Mysore decades ago. But the Hogenakkal water project is not of similar magnitude and does not have similar implications. The crux of the problem appears to be the disputed area — whether it belongs to Karnataka or Tamil Nadu. Either way, it should not bother Karnataka. The need of the hour is not violent protests but dialogue with mutual understanding.
Tumkur The water row has come up at a wrong time with rival politicians having a field day. As the water from this project is meant only for drinking purposes, the issue must be taken in the right spirit. In fact, more such projects must come up to meet the acute shortage of drinking water in many places.
Do the pro-Kannada groups want to settle the issue on the streets by breaking windshields and deflating tyres? Their counterparts in Tamil Nadu too are doing the same. The common man who uses public transport is put to great hardship by such acts of vandalism. No State is an island. Each must co-exist peacefully with the other, particularly a neighbour.
Violence will not solve any issue and the streets are certainly not the place to solve the problem of water-sharing between neighbouring States.
Those disturbing peace and harmony in Bangalore should be dealt with firmly. They represent neither the people nor the culture of Karnataka. These fringe elements not only tarnish the image of peace-loving and tolerant Kannadigas but also pose a threat to our federal structure. The Centre should evolve a federal water resource policy based on sound scientific principles rather than leaving the issue of water-sharing to opportunist political parties and ignorant farmers.
I am from Karnataka and had my college education in Chennai. We, Kannadigas, are a peace-loving people and all my best friends are Tamils. It is very painful to see a waterfall, nature’s gift, causing such disturbances to the people of both the States, where Tamilians and Kannadigas have lived harmoniously for years. Kannadigas living outside Karnataka have nothing to do with the self-styled linguistic groups of the State. They should not be targeted by anti-social elements in Tamil Nadu.
I shudder to think of what will happen to our country if all of us fail to realise that resources such as water are meant to be shared by everybody fairly and judiciously. If one State has surplus water as a result of abundant rainfall, it should be prepared to share it with its neighbours. I wonder why we cannot love India, leaving aside all our narrow selfish interests.
Water, it seems, is just an excuse. Both States are standing on prestige. We should learn to compromise among ourselves. Our political leaders should exercise restraint. They should intervene to solve the problem, not escalate it.