Cauvery water: Sumalatha counters Maran

Independent MP from Mandya, Sumalatha Ambareesh. (File Photo)

Independent MP from Mandya, Sumalatha Ambareesh, on Wednesday countered the allegation by Dravida Munnethra Kazhagam’s Dayanidhi Maran in the Lok Sabha that Karnataka had been persistently violating the orders of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal and the Supreme Court on releasing water to Tamil Nadu.

Maran called Karnataka a “habitual offender” and slammed it for not releasing adequate water to Tamil Nadu. He was participating in the debate on the Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill 2019 and went on to say: “Karnataka is always in contempt of court (by not releasing adequate water to TN.”

Sumalatha dismissed his allegation while speaking on the proposed legislation later in the day. She said that Karnataka had always adhered to the orders of the court although the state had never got justice on the issue of sharing water with Tamil Nadu.

“I do not think that Karnataka has ever been in contempt of the court orders and has always obeyed the court orders. We have been peace loving and stood in cooperation with our neighbours always,” she said.

She said the water level in the Krishna Raja Sagar reservoir had dropped to 85 to 86 feet this year from 124 last year due to insufficient rainfall. “So, there is no disputing the fact that my State, at present, is drought-hit and there is no drinking water in more than 150 taluks. So, the question arises as to how and from where the water should be released.”

“We feel that Karnataka is not being given equal justice in sharing of Cauvery river water,” Sumalatha, who was elected with the support of the BJP, said, supporting the Bill.

Earlier, Maran, a DMK MP from Chennai Central, demanded that the Centre should give control of the reservoir to Tamil Nadu whenever Karnataka would not “obey the orders of the Tribunal”. He said it should be done as “a punishment to Karnataka” so that required quantity of water could be released to TN.

When Maran was criticising Karnataka, most of the MPs from the state were not present in the House.

Shivkumar Udasi, the BJP MP from Haveri constituency, was the only one, who was once seen trying to counter Maran. “Then, how are you getting water right now?” Udasi asked the MP, who, however, did not relent. “We used to have two crops – Kuruvai and Samba. For the last eight years, we have not seen Kuruvai at all. Our farmers are suffering a lot (due to lack of water),” said Maran. “What are you going to do when Karnataka is in contempt? Do you have any powers?” he asked Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

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