Statement on the Cauvery water dispute – CPDR (TN)

October 14, 2016


R2, 7/3, L.D.N. Chari Street, Panchavadi, Ganapathypuram Main Road, Chennai-600044

Statement on the Cauvery water dispute

The impasse over the sharing of the Cauvery river waters is still persisting, days after violence erupted over recent Supreme Court directives, and there seems to be no resolution in sight.

CPDR-TN condemns in no uncertain terms the violence that was let loose upon the Tamil people in Karnataka, as well as incidents of arson that occurred in Tamil Nadu.

The Cauvery issue is not merely a dispute over water sharing between these two states. It is the lifeline of farmers in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and it concerns the food security of the people.

CPDR-TN strongly condemns the central government in its attempt to wash off its responsibility by not resolving the issue, but  allowing it to escalate into a clash between the people of both states on chauvinistic lines. There is lack of any serious vision or national policy on sharing of river waters, agriculture production, regulation over crop cultivation in river basins, and reducing the issue to a dispute between contending states only exposes the bankruptcy of those responsible for central planning and indicates their lack of  concern for farmers and the general public.

The Cauvery issue has been left unresolved and allowed to escalate over decades, after the earlier agreement expired in 1974, with no consensus between the two states, with appeals for appointment of tribunals, tribunal verdicts, with no independent implementing authority, non compliance by one side leading to legal tangle etc for last 40 years. By not establishing  a water management authority for the last 4 years even after gazetting of the water sharing agreement etc shows the lackadaisical approach of the central government.

With water shortage this year on either side due to low rainfall in the upper Cauvery basin, farmers on either side have agitated and they are being pitted against each other due to the intransigent attitudes of both the state governments which have failed to pressurize the central government for an amicable solution.

CPDR-TN condemns the intransigent attitude of Karnataka government in unilaterally stopping the release of water violating tribunal orders.

CPDR-TN condemns politicking by the BJP in Karnataka and at the centre over the water scarcity of the farmers, pitting people of the two states against each other, which exposes its narrow parochialism and the double-talk on nationalism.

CPDR-TN condemns the violence that was let loose by the BJP, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Karnataka Chaluvaliga Sangha, some days back, in connivance with the state machinery in Karnataka.

CPDR-TN condemns the attitude of Karnataka government to remain a mere spectator to the havoc let loose by the goons in Bangalore without any firm approach to control violence on common people especially those of Tamil origin. This raises suspicion about the connivance between the Congress and BJP in that state.

CPDR-TN considers that similar to the scenario when water disputes between warring countries do not lead to withholding of water flow, the inter-state water disputes within the country should not be allowed to escalate in such a manner via the callous approach of the central and state governments.

CPDR-TN demands that

1) Immediate compensation should be ordered for those who lost property and suffered humiliation during the violence that occurred some days back.

2) Karnataka government should take stringent action and prosecute all political leaders who were responsible for whipping up passions, leading to the violence.

3) The governments of Karnataka and Tamilnadu should order immediate relief measures for the farmers who may face loss in crop production due to shortage of water.

4) Centre should lay out clear national policy on river water sharing between riparian states with a holistic approach considering  the food security of the people as well as the interests of the farmers.

5) Both sides should take up proper desilting of river beds and canals, as well as construction of check dams, in order to ensure proper maintenance of waterflow.

6) Interim measures should be taken to resolve the antipathy created due to the current impasse and inter state farmers forum should be instituted for mutual co-operation.

Yours sincerely
S.Gopal, GS


R2, 7/3, L.D.N. Chari Street, Panchavadi, Ganapathypuram Main Road, Chennai-600044