Kalaburgi (Karnataka): With no reply to his letter or an appointment to meet, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday chided Prime Minister Narendra Modi for being indifferent to the state over the raging Cauvery river water sharing issue with Tamil Nadu.
“Though it’s over a week since I wrote to him (Modi) seeking his intervention to resolve the Cauvery issue by convening a meeting of the chief ministers and sought an appointment to meet him personally in Delhi, no reply yet to the letter or response for time to meet him,” lamented Siddaramaiah, who was here on a day’s official trip.
Noting that the Cauvery River Water Dispute Tribunal has made a provision for the riparian states to find a solution to any problem through understanding and consensus, he said in a federal set-up, it was the duty of the central government and the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of chief ministers to resolve inter-state issues, as some PMs did in the past.
In a letter to Modi on September 9, on a day when Karnataka was shut down in protest against releasing the river water to Tamil Nadu on a directive by the Supreme Court, the Chief Minister urged Modi to convene a meeting of the chief ministers at a short notice for resolving the Cauvery river water impasse with Tamil Nadu.
Citing a precedent over 20 years ago, when under similar circumstances of deficit flows, the Supreme Court had requested then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao to resolve the issue, the Chief Minister had said the “unrest”, if continued, would have a serious impact on the state’s economy as also the IT economy, which brought enormous revenue and foreign exchange to the country.
On Saturday, Siddaramaiah said: “I also spoke to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking time to meet the Prime Minister on this issue but there is response yet to my oral request.”
Asked if the Prime Minister was uncooperative and not interested to intervene in the matter, he said: “You can draw your own inference.”
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of changing its stance on the water dispute, he regretted that the opposition party in the state was trying to politicise the issue by advising the state government against releasing water in defiance of the apex court directive.
The Chief Minister, however, hoped the state government’s decision to release water would work in its favour when the main case comes up for the final hearing on October 18 in the top court.
“We do not have enough water in the reservoirs to release to Tamil Nadu after October 20, as it would result in denying drinking water to Bengaluru and other cities and villages dependent on Cauvery till the onset of monsoon in June next,” he said.
The state requires at least 27 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water to meet the drinking water needs after October 20 and the four reservoirs in the state would have 28 tmcft, while Tamil Nadu will have 42 tmcft in its reservoirs.