KARNATAKA

Power situation grim, says Krishna

TALAGUPPA (SHIMOGA DT.) May 22. The Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, here on Thursday described the power situation in the State as "very grim", and said concerted efforts were being made to overcome the situation.

Addressing a press conference after inaugurating the power receiving station of the KPTCL, he, however, said that the report that the monsoon was likely to be advanced this time had generated some hope. "Let us be optimistic about it," he said.

Asked about whether the cloud seeding exercise was being considered to augment the rainfall, the Chief Minister said the Irrigation Department was exploring the possibility of taking it up.

However, the experience so far was not quite encouraging, he added.

Mr. Krishna said that of the 80 million units of power being supplied daily, 35 million units were being obtained from the NTPC and the neighbouring States in view of the 40 per cent decrease in the generation of hydel power.

Referring to the ongoing discussion on the prospects of the monsoon, the Chief Minister however struck a note of optimism that there would be normal rainfall this year. "It may start raining even from May 28," he said, and added that the weather bureau had forecast that the monsoon was likely to reach the Kerala coast much before the usual time. "As the son of an agriculturist, I am quite optimistic on this score," he added.

Mr. Krishna noted that he had not expressed such optimism over the onset of the monsoon in the past two years. "I am sure the monsoon this time will be quite satisfactory," he said.

Both the Krishna and the Cauvery continued to have a deficit flow, he said, and added that the only way to overcome the problem was to link the tributaries with them.

PM complimented

Mr. Krishna commended the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, for the latter's initiative to interlink major rivers to solve the problem of drought.

He said that perhaps the Prime Minister appreciated the need for linking the rivers such as the Ganga and the Cauvery after experiencing the difficulties in resolving the Cauvery dispute.

He declined to comment on the allegation by the former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, that the order passed by him (Mr. Deve Gowda) as Chief Minister on the regularisation of encroachment on government land for agriculture was not implemented by the next Government. He said that a subcommittee of the Cabinet was studying the matter.

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