Cauvery, Siruvani dam issues echo in TN House, DMK walks out

Cauvery, Siruvani dam issues echo in TN House, DMK walks out

Cauvery, Siruvani dam issues echo in TN House, DMK walks out

The twin issues of a dam proposed by Kerala across Siruvani river and getting Cauvery water from Karnataka today found its echo in the Tamil Nadu Assembly today with DMK staging a walkout after demanding an all party panel and a House resolution over it as ruling AIADMK targeted the main Opposition party for "politicising" the issue.

After Question Hour, leader of the Opposition M K Stalin demanded suspension of business to deliberate on the Cauvery issue in the wake of state-wide protests by farmers over it.

Referring to Kerala's efforts to build a dam across the Siruvani River, he demanded an Assembly resolution. He also wanted setting up of a panel comprising all party MPs and MLAs to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press the Centre on river water issues.

Congress Legislature Party leader K R Ramasamy also wanted an all-party delegation to press the Centre on the issues.

Public Works Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami reeled out statistics to show that Karnataka had not supplied adequate water to Tamil Nadu till this month starting June.

Detailing the government's efforts to get Cauvery water from Karnataka, he said Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had written to both Karnataka and the Centre and later directed filing an interlocutory petition in the Supreme Court.

He said the State's plea would come up for hearing in the Apex Court on September 2 and asserted Jayalalithaa was taking swift steps on the issue.

He cited data from the 1970's and said water was not released from Mettur dam at the appointed annual date during several years for the Samba crop even during the DMK regime.

Blaming DMK for "wanton politicisation," of the issue, he also pointed out inadequate precipitation for not being able to open up Mettur dam for Samba crop.

On Kerala's efforts to build a dam across Siruvani, he said it was covered under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, as it was a sub-tributary of Cauvery, though it originated and joined River Bhavani within Kerala.

Slamming DMK over the issue, he said a tripartite meeting on May 10, 1969 had decided that Kerala would utilise 2.5 TMC feet of water in the Bhavani Basin.

The meeting was attended by the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, the then Kerala Chief Minister and Union Minister for Power and Irrigation.

He said such utilisation was intended to irrigate Attappady valley lands after construction of Siruvani dam.Its "impact" was being felt now on the issue, he said.

Palaniswami said the Chief Minister had written to Prime Minister Modi against Kerala's efforts in 2012 over the issue. Tamil Nadu had written 13 letters to Kerala between 2012 and 2014 on it's bid to build a dam at Attappady.

Also, seven letters were sent to the Water resources Ministry.

The Water Resources Ministry had apprised Tamil Nadu through a letter on September 19, 2013 that concurrence of basin States and nod of Cauvery River Water Tribunal should be received. It also said Kerala had so far not responded.

Without replying to Tamil Nadu, Kerala had however unilaterally approached the Expert Appraisal Committee under the Ministry of Environment and Forests seeking terms of reference for holding environment assessment study for Attappady valley (dam) project, he said.

In its meeting on March 28 and 29 the panel said Kerala's proposal would be considered only after Tamil Nadu gave its opinion. After that, Kerala wrote to the state on May 10 this year.

However, the letter did not have all parameters on technological feasibility. Even as aspects like technological, administrative and legal steps were being contemplated by Tamil Nadu, Kerala again went to the Central panel.

Assailing the panel, he said that in such sensitive river water disputes, the Central committee unilaterally taking up Kerala's plea for consideration in its meeting on August 11 and 12 and taking a decision over it was a "very wrong precedent".

On August 27, Jayalalithaa sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's urgent intervention to withdraw the central committee's recommendation for environmental impact assessment study, he said.

"Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is taking all necessary steps to protect the interests of farmers depending on Siruvani river water," he said.

Stalin said his party was staging a walkout as the PWD Minister did not respond to his plea.

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