From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Sep 22: Deputy Chief Minister and water resources department in-charge D K Shivakumar on Friday insisted on granting immediate Central clearances for the Mekedatu balancing reservoir project as the only viable solution to the lingering Cauvery water sharing issue.
Shivakumar, who returned from Delhi, told media persons in Bengaluru that even the Supreme Court bench had asked the parties to the Cauvery dispute to find a solution to the Cauvery water sharing issue at the lower levels and the Union Government should take immediate steps to grant all approvals from the departments concerned.
"We are willing to release water to Tamil Nadu as directed by the Supreme Court to follow the Cauvery Water Managing Authority’s order for releasing 5,000 cusecs of water daily for 15 days,’’ he said pointing out at the apex court’s remarks suggesting that Tamil Nadu should have no problems if Karnataka builds dams as long as water is released.
When the apex court has indirectly said that the issue could be resolved at the lower levels itself, the BJP leaders should utilise the opportunity to prevail upon the Narendra Modi government to ensure that all the departments concerned accord the necessary clearances as part of the efforts to find a lasting solution.
Shivakumar pointed out that Tamil Nadu had originally demanded that 24,000 cusecs of water must be released daily. "But our officials had offered to spare just 3,000 cusecs before the Cauvery Technical Advisory Committee and subsequently the Authority reduced the quantum to 10,000 cusecs per day," he said.
Karnataka expected better rains and the state officials argued that barely 3,000 cusecs per day can be released. The Advisory Committee ordered 5,000 cusecs per day, which has been upheld by the Authority. "Our officials have done their best,’’ he said.
He mentioned that the State Government had consulted all opposition leaders at every step and had effectively handled the case. The State is now compelled to release 5,000 cusecs of water per day till September 27.
"I can speak of past records and how the BJP governments headed by B S
Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai had released water in similar circumstances in the past. I have records of affidavits filed by the BJP government in the past in similar situation agreeing to release 10,000 cusecs of water per day,’’ he said.
He, however, said he is not interested in politicising the issue even though he is very well capable of answering all critics in the language used by them. "I know what Yediyurappa, Bommai and H D Kumaraswamy had done in similar situations in the past. But this is not the time to do so,’’ he said.
Shivakumar said that he was happy to note that pro-Kannada and film organisations have become very vocal now but they were silent when the Congress party had organised the Mekedatu padayatra. Some of the Swamijis had lent their support. But all those people who are talking loudly now, did not do so in the past or support the Mekedatu padayatra, he asked.
He said the State Government is continuing with the same legal team that handled the State’s case in the past when Kumaraswamy and Bommai were in power and the government has strictly followed their advice. There was no delay or failure in the handling of the case before the Supreme Court, he said.
He appealed to the people and farmers of Mandya not to observe bandh on the issue on Saturday as it will cause hardships to the people. "We are in power and are therefore ready to face criticism but people should be subjected to hardships," he said.
To a question on BJP criticism for dragging Modi and blaming the Centre in the
issue, Shivakumar said in similar situations in the past the then prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh had intervened. So Modi can also intervene, he said.
The deputy chief minister later held discussions with GAIL India managing director Sandeep Kumar Gupta, when the latter had called on him. He also held discussions with Kirloskar chairperson and managing director Geetanjali Vikram Kirloskar.