HD Kumaraswamy – Former CM, Karnataka:
The measure of Tamil Nadu government with respect to Mekedatu reservoir as well as Cauvery river is detrimental to the interests of Karnataka. Unfortunately the BJP government in the state, which is supposed to look into such issues, has been debilitated by internal squabbling.
When the trouble-hit BJP has become so weak that it is finding it difficult to run the government, can any one expect commitment from it towards protection of the “Land, Water and Language” that form the core elements of the state?
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, who recently met PM Narendra Modi, has appealed to him not to give permission to Karnataka to go ahead with the construction of Mekedatu reservoir.
He has also appealed to the Prime Minister to take measures to get Tamil Nadu’s share of water released from Karnataka for this year. But the ruling BJP, which is supposed to react immediately to such issues, has forgotten its responsibility.
Both the national parties had failed to formulate the Mekedatu Reservoir Project in Karnataka. My government displayed the courage to make it a reality. But it is becoming impossible for the ruling BJP to retain the project.
Such an important project is gripped by uncertainty though the BJP is in power both at the State and the Centre. This has proved wrong the BJP’s promise of creating a heaven by using the advantage of being in power at both the state and the Centre.
People of Karnataka have to take note of the fact that Tamil Nadu is being ruled by a regional party. Tamil Nadu is strong in terms of regional pride. Unlike its neighbouring state, Karnataka is in the grip of national parties. ..
But despite being in power, the national party has not been able to protect Karnataka’s pride and regional identity. This has clearly demonstrated that only regional parties can protect the state’s interests.
Stalin had said that he would make efforts to ensure that all the languages that have been recognized under the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution would get official language status. I want to make it clear that I will also join hands with him in such an effort.
There is no benefit for both the states, which should be like brothers, to indulge in friction over the Cauvery river water sharing issue.
The present government at the Centre is behaving in a very aggressive manner with respect to the southern states, their languages and the culture. In such a situation, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu should not toe the path of disunity over the issue of Cauvery.
Stalin should understand that it is the time for both the states to remain united for the protection of our pride.
Let Tamil Nadu government allow the implementation of Mekedatu reservoir project. It has already been clearly explained that Mekedatu project will not harm the interests of Tamil Nadu. The intention of Mekedatu project is not irrigation, but taking care of only drinking water .. requirements. Stalin should realise this and co-operate with Karnataka with respect to the construction of reservoir.
In the last three to four years, Karnataka has released water in excess of the prescribed limit to TN. We have released more water when nature has co-operated.
In fact, Karnataka has not betrayed TN even during drought. Therefore, let brother Stalin not have any doubts or concerns over TN’s share of water.
There is no instance of Karnataka protecting its farmers by betraying Tamil Nadu farmers. All farmers whether they are in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka are the same. They are children of the Mother Earth. They are our brothers.
Now, let both of us — politicians — too become brothers with respect to the Cauvery issue. If Stalin takes a step ahead with the spirit of brotherhood, I am ready to walk two steps.
Let us put an end to the fight between the two states over Cauvery. Being southern Indians, we must realise that there is no need for us to fight among ourselves. The Cauvery issue has to be resolved through the spirit of brotherhood.
By taking such a novel measure, we must also display unity. Let such an effort begin during the regime of Stalin. Such an effort will have my full backing. The need of the hour is to protect the spirit of brotherhood between both the states.