Farmers to continue stir on Mahadayi

Farmers to continue stir on Mahadayi

Green shawls waved high as farmers decided to continue their stir after BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa failed to convince them on the Mahadayi river dispute on Tuesday.

Hundreds of farmers have camped outside the BJP headquarters in Malleswaram for the past four days, seeking clarity on the release of Mahadayi river water to the parched north Karnataka districts, especially after Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar wrote to Yeddyurappa stating that his government was okay with parting with 7.56 TMC to meet drinking water needs.

Farmer leader Veeresh Sobaradmath, who is leading the Mahadayi agitation, broke down as he announced that talks with Yeddyurappa failed. Yeddyurappa was seen having an animated discussion with Sobaradmath and other farmer leaders. He told them that he had done his part in getting Parrikar to agree for talks on water sharing.

Farmers, however, were not convinced.

"We were promised release of water, but all we got - after four days of peaceful protest - was a copy of the letter the Goa CM has written. We have been cheated," Sobaradmath said, as farmers raised anti-Yeddyurappa slogans. Farmers waved theri green shawls signifying continuation of their protest.

The agitating farmers decided to intensify their stir on Wednesday by taking out a rally to Raj Bhavan, the Election Commission, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's home office and former prime minister and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda's residence.  

The Mahadayi river dispute is a three-decade-old dispute involving Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. Karnataka has demanded diverting some share of the Mahadayi river from its tributaries Kalasa and Banduri to the drought-hit districts of north Karnataka.

Water Resources Minister M B Patil rushed to show solidarity with the farmers. He told farmers that the State government had written to Goa four times and to Prime Minister Narendra Modi thrice seeking resolution of the dispute. "We want 7.56 TMC from Mahadayi, which includes 3.56 from Kalasa and 4 from Bandura. The total yield of the river is 200 TMC, of which 45-48 TMC is on our side. We have claimed 36 TMC as ours, but we urgently need 7.56 TMC as an interim measure," Patil said. "Whatever Goa wants to do should be done before February 6, when the Mahadayi Tribunal will start the final hearing."

Earlier in the day, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Dinesh Gundu Rao visited the farmers.

Members of the Kannada film industry, headed by Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce president Sa Ra Govindu, visited Malleswaram to show their support. "No political party should indulge in politicking when it comes to farmers. The Mahadayi water has to be released," actor Chethan stressed.

 

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