After flood spat, K'taka joins hands with Maha on dam

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa inspects the flooded Ballari Nallah area in Belagavi. DH File Photo

In a significant development, Karnataka and neighbouring Maharashtra have decided to form a high-level committee for dam management in the wake of megafloods in parts of the two states last month.

The two also joined hands to counter Andhra Pradesh, which is seeking a redistribution of water against the order of the Krishna Water Tribunal.

The decisions were taken after a meeting between Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai. The two chief ministers met over lunch followed by a formal meeting where the recent floods were discussed.

"It was decided to set up a high-level committee for better dam management to avoid flood situation," Fadnavis said.

After the recent floods — which hit western Maharashtra districts of Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara and parts of Karnataka — Maharashtra politicians had alleged that protocols between the two states vis-a-vis Almatti dam were not followed. In fact, Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah had to intervene in the matter.

BJP's ally Shiv Sena and Opposition parties Congress and NCP had blamed the Karnataka government for the floods. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had even spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

"It was also decided to jointly oppose Andhra Pradesh's application for redistribution of water against the Krishna Water Tribunal order in view of the division of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Both the states (Karnataka and Maharashtra) took a firm stand that Andhra Pradesh and Telangana should take water from their (allotted) share," Fadnavis said.

While Maharashtra and Karnataka are ruled by the BJP, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have YSR Congress and TRS governments in power, respectively.

The 1,600-km-long Krishna river starts from the hill station of Mahabaleshwar and passes through Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh before flowing into the Bay of Bengal. It is the fourth-biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin after Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra.

Senior BJP leader and MLC Prasad Lad, a close aide of Fadnavis who was coordinating the visit of Yediyurappa, said, "It was a very fruitful visit. Water is one of the key issues... both the CMs had detailed deliberations."

At the meeting, Yediyurappa was accompanied by his Deputy Chief Minister C N  Ashwathnarayan and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai, while Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan and Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule were present.

BSY seeks blessings of Ganesha

Upon arrival, Yediyurappa visited the Siddhivinayak temple at Prabhadevi to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha and then drove to Varsha, the official residence of the Maharashtra chief minister in Malabar Hill. Yediyurappa also took the blessings of Lord Ganesha at Fadnavis' house.

On his return to the airport, Yediyurappa visited Prasad Lad's residence. It was Lad who was instrumental in putting the rebel MLAs together in Mumbai when Karnataka went through a political crisis after which Yediyurappa came to power once again.

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