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The Cauvery story - No Gain, No Loss

Place: Jujuwadi, the Tamil Nadu - Karnataka border. The army stands guard on both sides of the border to prevent any sudden untoward incident. The situation, though not as worse as the migration situation during the Indo - Pak divide, is such that people who were planning to stay in Karnataka permanently are "running" back to Tamil Nadu leaving behind their residence, filled with terror. South Karnataka is worst hit. The situation was panicky with roadblocks and the demands for closing of shops in forced support for more than a week. On 11th of February, some of the pro-Kannada activist groups called for a statewide Bandh and the entire state witnessed was silenced in a sense. It is only against the outcome of the Feb 5th final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribuna comprising Chairman Justice N.P.Singh and Members N.S.Rao and Sudhir Naraian which unanimously that gave instructions as to how the Southern states would share water from the Cauvery water.

This Tribunal was formed in 1991 by the then Prime Minister V.P.Singh. It delivered its judgement 16 years later eight days back on the 5th of February. The issue over the unrest is that Karnataka has been asked to release 192 tmcft Cauvery water that runs between Talacauvery, where the origin of Cauvery is and Bilikundulu, the part of the Tamilnadu Karnataka border where the river enter Tamilnadu. The politicians from both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have become woken up from the next moment of this was declaration. They indulged in politicizing the issue saying that grave injustice has been done to Karnataka

From the next day Karnataka turned hostile. Tamils who lived in Bangalore confined themselves in their houses. No vehicle bearing Tamil Nadu registration was allowed inside Karnataka. Similarly, Karanataka vehicles were blocked from moving to Tamil Nadu. People who had to come to Tamil Nadu from Bangalore were compelled to get down at the border&walk for 3 kms before a boarding the alternative buses to reach their destination.

Till Feb 12th - the day this article was written, this was the situation. It is very bad in Chennapatna where police protection had to be given for the houses in which tamils reside. Residents of Mysore who returned here expressed that saying the word Tamilnadu itself causes panic in regions around Mandya&Mysore.

People of both states instead of looking at the issue with the perspective that the river Cauvery is a source of irrigation handled the issue emotionally with "high sentimental" values. This is the reason the situation going bad.

Going back to the past
Historical records reveal that the first war for Cauvery water started in the year 1146 themselves. It is said that the then King of Mysore started to build a dam across the river Cauvery and that the Chola king, against this move, started a war and established his rule there. Then in the 17th century, battles took place between Madurai and Mysore Kingdoms for the Cauvery. Since these fights continued even during the British rule, there was an agreement signed between the king of Mysore and Madras presidency in the year 1892. However, the problem was not solved amicably as per the agreement. Again in 1924, there was another agreement signed for sharing the Cauvery river water. This agreement paved way to build the 44-tmcft capacities Krishnaraja Sagar Dam near Mysore and 93-tmcft capacity reservoirs near Mettur in Tamil Nadu.

In 1956, the geographical map of India itself was changed. The state boundaries were earmarked on the basis of the languages. Karnataka was born on the same basis. Before that, the southern districts of Karnataka were part of Madras Presidency. After emergence of Karnataka, the dispute on sharing the Cauvery water between the two states has become continuous one. Karnataka built 3 large dams across the Cauvery's main branches... Kabini, Hemavathy and Herangi despite objections raised by Tamil Nadu. Karnataka openly declared that it would not be bound by the old agreements. This has created tension and dissatisfaction among the Tamil farmers. Subsequently, the concerned framers come together and filed a complaint against the Karnataka government. The Govt. of Tamil Nadu filed a case against Karnataka in the Supreme Court in 1971. However, the Apex court, which felt that it is not for the good for both states to settle the issue amicably, advised both the state Governments to hold talks and arrive to an amicable settlement. 

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