Cauvery water dispute, a Faustian bargain.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on the night of May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. It was not just another crime in India. It was a well-planned act of terrorism conducted by LTTE, which is no different than Lashkar-e-Taiba. Leaving the politics apart, we should understand that he was not just another person. He was elected prime minister of India. And his assassination was an attack on India.

Supreme court ruling premature release of Nalini Sriharan, her husband and 3 other convicts were welcomed by DMK leaders. These convicts are not Indian citizens. The media treated them as celebrities. They were discussing their future plans, their relief and rehabilitation at the state's expenditure, instead of deportation.

Rohingya Muslims coming to India after losing everything they had is for survival. It is ironic that we Indians treat those asylum seekers as terrorists and attack them. Most developed countries demonstrate compassion towards refugees. On the other hand, the real terrorists who attacked India and killed elected prime minister of India are treated like celebrities. Is it religion or language that silenced media and the political class?

Prime minister Modi recently said in parliament that villagers who visit metropolitan cities will keep talking about it even after several years. It is the same with those who stayed abroad for a short period of time. It is human psychology where those who had few memorable days in their life will glorify it forever. People who suffer mental disorder after love failure will share more or less the same syndrome. They live in that memory for the rest of their lives. What I am sharing with you in the next paragraph won't fall into the above said category.

We see Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra and Sonia Gandhi talking about Rajiv Gandhi sacrificing his life for our country. It wasn't a sacrifice. It was a cold-blooded murder. I doubt their integrity when they speak about their beloved father or husband. DMK treats these terrorists who killed Rajiv Gandhi as celebrities and Congress leaders are comfortable with the ruling DMK in Tamilnadu.

There are reasons to doubt BJP's support, if not direct involvement in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. They of course wanted to destroy Indian National Congress and are happy with LTTE. The supreme court of India ruled premature release of Nalini Sriharan, her husband and 3 other convicts under prime minister Modi's regime. Mallikarjun Kharge was among the senior Congress leaders who worked with Late. Rajeev Gandhi.  One can be sure that leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge won't like allowing these terrorists to continue their stay in India.

People in Tamilnadu believe that Tamil is superior than any other languages spoken in the world. Political parties are exploiting their linguistic ego and strong regional sentiment. BJP leaders who preach chauvinism is silent on the issue of accommodating terrorist who killed former prime minister of India. In fact, Narendra Modi won't miss an opportunity to praise Tamil and people in Tamilnadu where BJP is too weak.  But can politics be this brazen?

Below paragraphs can severely impact the next general election. It can even make either the DMK or Congress break away from their new alliance called I.N.D.I.A. It can influence the supreme court's verdict in Cauvery water sharing issue. It is an opportunity for BJP to regain lost support in Karnataka. It will help BJP in the next general election. After all, Karnataka was betrayed by the subsequent union governments and the supreme court since independence. It is not intended to increase the ongoing tension between Tamilnadu and Karnataka. But as tellers of the story, we need to tell all sides.

Tamilnadu enjoyed influence from the union government and supreme court at all given time especially in Cauvery water dispute. They always won court battles. Karnataka has only 28 Lok Sabha constituencies while Tamilnadu has 39. This is one of the reasons for the above said unjust favors Tamilnadu gets. BJP has no base in Tamilnadu and will lose their support from Karnataka completely, if they do what Congress did in the past.

The Mekedatu project was originally mooted in 1948 and came up for investigation after the States were re-organized in 1956. It was talked about prominently in the early 1960s, but was almost forgotten after two States were locked in Cauvery water sharing dispute. The project came back to life when the two States held five rounds of negotiations in 1996-97. A few years later, the Centre evinced interest in reviving it and formulated a package of four projects — two each in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu encompassing Mekedatu and Hogenakkal.

Hogenakkal project's first phase, which supplied 160 MLD of potable water to the drought-prone districts of Dharmapuri and Krishna Giri was completed in 2013. On the other hand, construction of Mekedatu project in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka is still in its initial stage even after ten years since the fruition of Hogenakkal project in 2013. Tamilnadu is opposing Mekedatu project and are demanding supreme court's intervention to stop the project. They are demanding more water from Karnataka. People in Tamilnadu are used to demanding more and more water from Cauvery for irrigation even when there is acute shortage of drinking water in Bengaluru, the IT hub of India. This is because Karnataka was the red-headed stepchild of the Union government at all given time. 

The Tamil Nadu government has recently announced that it will prepare a detailed project report to implement the second phase of the Hogenakkal drinking water project for Dharmapuri and Krishna Giri districts at an estimated cost of Rs 4,600 crore. During the 2016 Cauvery water dispute, there were talks in Tamilnadu that Tamilnadu government can destroy Bengaluru by developing Hosur and Krishna Giri, where all the companies will move from Electronic city to Hosur and Krishna Giri. It can become a reality, if Bengaluru fails to ensure alternate water sources. Now Bengaluru depends mainly on underground water which is not abundant.

According to a report published in The Times of India on 21 February 2023, farmers suicides in Karnataka have come down by 33% over a three-year period, from 2020 till mid-February 2023.  The state recorded 2,082 farmer deaths by suicide in the said period. Belagavi topped the list among the districts with 200 deaths, followed by Mysuru in second place with 191 deaths. Cauvery river which flows in Karnataka can save lives and livelihood of many farmers, other than fulfilling drinking water demand of Bengaluru.

Karnataka is the third largest producer of sugar cane in India. The sugar price in India will go up, if the cane production in Karnataka dips. Now the union government has banned sugar exports to ensure adequate domestic supply and to check price-rise. The ban on sugar exports is due to poor rainfall and yield. There is always demand for Indian sugar in international markets.

Sugar cane cultivation is lucrative for farmers in Karnataka and there is no end for demand in international markets. Sugar cane requires hot and humid climate with an average temperature of 21°C to 27°C and 75-150 cm rainfall. According to studies, sugarcane yields can decrease by up to 70% under drought conditions. Climate change increases evaporation rates and reduces the availability of water in soil. Therefore, there is an increasing irrigation need for sugarcane production.

 

The above two paragraphs about how Cauvery water can help sugarcane farmers in Karnataka is just an example. Cauvery water could be used to irrigate many other crops like paddy fields, vegetables, etc. These crops are all in high demand, and they could provide farmers with a reliable source of income. It will improve the livelihood of farmers in Karnataka. 

Chief minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah said time and again that he too is a farmer. During the last BJP regime, Siddaramaiah as opposition leader fought for various farmer's issues. He demanded rupees 25 lakh compensation for the families of farmers who lost their lives during the year-long protest against the new farm laws. He said, repeal of farm law is victory for democracy. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should put his words into action and fight for the people of Karnataka. Both BJP and Congress leaders in Karnataka should fight for justice, if at all they want support from voters in Karnataka. Kannada Rajya Rytha Sangha (KRRS), Kannada paksha, all other Kannada organizations and leaders like Vatal Nagaraj should fight for Cauvery water. This fight is not for Cauvery water alone. It is to change the habit of Tamilnadu always winning legal battle due to their MP's count.


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