TAMIL NADU

Prime Minister apprised of storage in reservoirs

BANGALORE, JULY 24. The Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, today, apprised the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, of the storage in the Krishna Basin reservoirs in Karnataka and the difficulties faced by his Government in meeting the demand for water for drinking and irrigation purposes in the State. This follows a demand from the Andhra Pradesh Government for releasing Krishna waters to that State.

The Minister for Water Resources, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, also spoke to the Prime Minister. Thereafter, the two spoke to the Union Minister for Water Resources, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi.

Confabulations

Sources in the Government told The Hindu that Mr. Dharam Singh and Mr. Kharge held these confabulations over phone to clear misgivings, if any, among senior political leaders and the Opposition leaders here over the reported "assurance" given by the Chief Minister that Krishna waters would be released to Andhra Pradesh from Saturday. There was anxiety in political circles with the State Government denying that it had decided to release the waters and official sources in New Delhi quoting the Chief Minister as having made this assurance.

Mr. Dharam Singh told The Hindu that he conveyed to the Prime Minister that release of water depended on the inflow into Alamatti Dam, which was largely a balancing reservoir to Narayanapur Dam. The storage in the former would suffice for irrigating the Krishna Basin area in the State. This dam was also the source of drinking water for Bijapur city and many towns and villages.

With the legislature session in progress and the Congress being a part of the coalition Government in the State, the Chief Minister, through his explanation to the Prime Minister, wanted to drive home the point that he would not like to take a unilateral decision particularly on such sensitive matters as sharing of river waters.

BJP protest

The Bharatiya Janata Party has taken a serious view of the issue. The Bijapur district unit of that party today launched a demonstration near Alamatti Dam and Narayanapur Dam. The party has charged the State Government with attempting to "please" the Prime Minister by releasing water to Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh Minister for Water Resources, P. Lakshmaiah, was in Bangalore over a fortnight ago seeking the release of 20 tmcft of water and had carried a letter from the Chief Minister of that State, Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy. Karnataka then said that it would favourably consider the request since the inflow into Alamatti Dam at that time was in excess of 90,000 cusecs a day. This dropped in recent days to around 6,000 cusecs.

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