TAMIL NADU

Tamil film industry cautioned

BANGALORE OCT. 5. Several political parties and Kannada organisations today warned the Tamil film industry against indulging in "arm-twisting" tactics to force Karnataka to release Cauvery water.

In response to the Tamil film industry's plan to stop power supply from the Neyveli Lignite Corporation to Karnataka on October 12, Kannada organisations have decided to stop the screening of Tamil films in the State from Monday.

As a prelude to the all-party meeting called by the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, the leaders of several political parties and Kannada organisations met here under the aegis of the Krishna Cauvery Protection Committee and the Mandya Farmers' Protection Committee to decide on their stand on the issue.

While resolving to cooperate with the Government following the Chief Minister's decision not to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from any of the four reservoirs — Harangi, Kabini, Krishnaraja Sagar and Hemavathi — the leaders of the organisations issued a veiled threat to the Tamil film industry against involving itself directly in the dispute.

The Kannada Chaluvali leader, Vatal Nagaraj, told presspersons after the meeting that the Tamil film industry could not dictate terms to Karnataka on the release of Cauvery water. He said: "we are aware that all people in the film industry are not involved in such activities. The Tamil film director, Bharatiraja is attempting to organise such programmes only to ensure that his career improved. We would like to warn the Tamil film industry to withdraw its programme on October 12 at Neyveli or face the consequences.''

He said television channels would be barred from telecasting Tamil films in Karnataka. Kannada organisations appreciated the stand taken by the noted actor, Rajnikanth, who expressed his opposition to the Tamil film industry's move.

"It is for Tamil Nadu to understand the distress situation in the Cauvery Basin in Karnataka. Not a drop of water shall be released from the reservoirs despite the directions issued by the Supreme Court. There is no question of relenting on any demand for Cauvery water,'' he added.

Mr. Nagaraj said the meeting urged the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, to summon an emergency meeting of the Cauvery River Authority and revise the earlier directive to Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu on a daily basis. It was up to the Prime Minister to decide.

The earlier order was apparently based on the presumption that there would be rains by September-end and early October, he added.

He said the Chief Minister should have decided not to release water from the basin reservoirs as soon as the Supreme Court directed the State to release 1.25 tmcft of water on September 3. "Credit should go to the gram panchayat member, Guruswamy, who sacrificed his life. It was because of his action that the Government stopped the release of water from the Kabini dam.

The former MP, K. Venkatagiri Gowda, said the best solution to the crisis would be for the Supreme Court to direct Tamil Nadu to desist from growing the samba crop in the years of water shortage, and study the water requirements for drinking and for crops in Karnataka.

It was for the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and save the lives of farmers who were ready to die for the cause, he added.

Among those who attended the meeting besides Mr. Nagaraj were the president of the State unit of the Janata Dal (United), C. Byre Gowda, the floor leader of the JD(U) in the Legislative Assembly, P.G.R. Sindhia, the State secretary of the CPI, M.C. Venkatramu, the president of the Mandya Raithara Hitarakshana Samiti, G. Made Gowda, the Kannada Chaluvali leader, G. Narayan Kumar, the Congress MLA from Mandya, M.S. Atmananda , and the JD legislators, Cheluvarayaswamy and A.R. Krishnamurthy.

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