New Delhi : Backing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on the issue of Cauvery water sharing with Tamil Nadu, Janata Dal (Secular) national secretary general Danish Ali on Sunday said when farmers and the common man are distressed and even drinking water is not available in Cauvery catchment areas, how can the Karnataka government release the river waters. “Areas along the Cauvery are reeling from a shortage of water, even drinking water is not available to people living in the Cauvery Basin.
When even drinking water is not available to the people living in the Cauvery catchment areas and in Bengaluru, and there is a lot of distress among farmers, how can the government release the Cauvery water,” Ali told ANI. So taking that in view, he said all political parties, especially the Janata Dal (Secular), supports the stand announced by the chief minister after the all-party meeting. “We have given our full support. We hope when the matter comes before the Supreme Court, the government and the government’s counsel will place the facts before the honourable court and the honourable court will take a positive view and give a favourable decision for the common man of Karnataka,” he added.
Earlier, Siddaramaiah informed that the Tamil Nadu Government in their application filed before the Supreme Court had made a prayer that the court should direct the Government of Karnataka to release 50 tmcf (thousand million cubic feet) of water as per the normal year. He said Karnataka is facing a severe distressed year and both states should share the Cauvery waters as per the distress pro rata basis.
“Today, there is no normal year in Karnataka, and we are facing a severe distressed year. Both states should share the water as per distress pro rata (proportional) basis,” he said. Holding a press conference after a meeting all Members of Parliament representing Karnataka, central ministers from Karnataka, leaders of opposition parties and ministers coming from the Cauvery basin, the chief minister said, “All the members, who have attended this meeting, gave a suggestion that our government should explain and make a submission to the Supreme Court about what the ground reality is in Karnataka as far as water storage in our reservoirs is concerned.”
Divulging details of the ground realities, Siddaramaiah said, “In Karnataka, today the gross capacity of all four reservoirs in the Cauvery Basin is under 40 tmcf of water, while the live storage is only under 4 tmcf. But today, the storage in all four reservoirs is only 51 tmcf of water.” “So, as per the suggestions of all leaders, we should bring the ground realities to the notice of the Supreme Court; that we require for drinking purposes about 40 tmcf of water, but are having only 51 tmcf of water in all four reservoirs,” he said. In the meantime, seeking withdrawal of a recommendation made by an expert appraisal committee of the of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to build a dam on the Siruvani River at Attappady, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter.
The recommendation to construct a dam on the Siruvani was made by the expert appraisal committee for the River Valley and Hydroelectric Projects of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EAI) study on the proposal of the Government of Kerala. In a press release, the Tamil Nadu Government alleged that the proposal was passed without being discussed with them. As per the state government, the Siruvani river is a sub-tributory of the Cauvery, which is an inter-state river and building a dam on it for the Attappady Valley Irrigation Project is a violation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal final order. This is the second dam being constructed on the Siruvani after 1984.