PM’s silence over Mahadayi issue draws flak at sahitya sammelana

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s continuing silence on the Mahadayi Kalasa-Banduri issue drew flak at a session on Irrigation in Karnataka with speakers taking exception to the Centre’s refusal to intervene in the dispute between Karnataka and Goa.

N.H. Konaraddi, Janata Dal (Secular) MLA representing Navalgund Assembly constituency in Dharwad, said the Prime Minister’s intervention was needed for resolving the dispute and ensuring the much-needed water to people of Dharwad, Gadag, Bagalkot and Belagavi.

Mr. Konaraddi recalled the intervention of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who ensured the release of 5 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu, and wondered what was preventing Mr. Modi from intervening in the Mahadayi dispute.

He said the people were in dire need of water and the Centre can take steps to release the proposed 7.56 tmcft of Mahadayi waters for the Kalasa Banduri project and make adjustments out of Karnataka’s share at the time of the final award. Karnataka has sought 45 to 52 tmcft of the total 220 tmcft of Mahadayi waters.

Retired Chief Engineer of State Water Resources Department S.L. Shivaprasad, said there was a need to fix a deadline for the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal to deliver its verdict. Farmers’ leader and Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) leader K.S. Puttannaiah, who presided over the session, also questioned the Prime Minister’s silence on the issue.

Meanwhile, Capt Raja Rao (retd), a retired Chief Engineer of Water Resources Department, who spoke on the Cauvery dispute, found fault with the award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal not having a ‘deficit formula’. The failure of the award to address the dispute during deficit years was a major loophole that has caused grave injustice to Karnataka. He said the Supreme Court will give its order on the appeals filed by the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s 2007 award before the end of February 2018 as one of the judges on the bench is due to retire on March 1. However, he added that there was a likelihood of the Supreme Court constituting a new Tribunal to adjudicate the matter as the court could not decide on the dispute.

Meanwhile, Professor Narasimhappa, an irrigation expert, who spoke on the Yettinahole project, expressed optimism that the project will be commissioned notwithstanding objections from some quarters of the State.

He said the rain shadow region of Chickballapur, Doddaballapur, and Bengaluru Rural, contributed more than 60 lakh litres of milk to the State every day. “How do you expect them to survive without drinking water for themselves and their cattle,” he questioned.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 12:30:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pms-silence-over-mahadayi-issue-draws-flak-at-sahitya-sammelana/article20941753.ece

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