CM to meet central leaders over state's concerns on river projects

K'taka CM to meet central leaders over state's concerns on inter-state river linking projects
CM to meet central leaders over state's concerns on river projects

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is all set to meet top central leaders on inter-state river linking projects announced during the presentation of budget on Thursday, according to high level sources.

Water experts have expressed apprehension that the river linking projects will help neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and not Karnataka.

CM Bommai has sought appointments with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP Party President J.P. Nadda to explain the fears regarding the projects. The water experts in the state have feared that the announcement of river linking may prove detrimental to the interests of the state.

The CM on Wednesday said that he would visit New Delhi. "I would meet MPs and senior advocates who represent the state on the issues of inter-state water dispute most probably on Thursday."

Talking to IANS, Prof C. Narasimhappa, water expert stated that the river interlinking project will not benefit Karnataka at all. The interlinking of rivers will benefit Tamil Nadu state and Andhra Pradesh will be benefited to an extent. Andhra Pradesh has interlinked River Godavari to River Krishna. The interlinking of projects would benefit Tamil Nadu to a maximum extent, he stated.

Captain Raja Ram explained said that the state should see to it that its share is announced before the DPR is done for interlinking of rivers. The basic idea of interlinking of rivers is to provide water from river basins which have surplus water to deficit basins. "Our state should not sit quietly and demand and get our share of water otherwise we should not agree to the project."

The directions have already been given to MPs from the state to gather inputs in this regard as well as collect information on departmental wise allocation for the state.

CM Bommai has stated that before the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is prepared, the state's share of allocation of water from respective rivers has to be finalised. At that point of time, the state will vouch for its share.

"The Centre has stated that the project of interlinking of rivers Cauvery, Pennar and Krihsna would be taken up if there is consensus among the states on DPR. We have to get clarity on the state's share of water. Earlier, DPR prepared by the UPA government allocated less share of water and it was objected to," he explained.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced implementation of Godavari-Krishna, Krishna -Pennar and Cauvery-Pennar River linking projects, once the consensus is reached between the respective states. Experts in the state say that these projects will not benefit Karnataka.

Experts explain that Godavari River has to be deviated from Nasik and linked to Krishna River near Doodhganga and there is no benefit from this to the state. Krishna River is going to be interlined with Pennar near the region 25 kilometers away from Mulbagal town. Pennar River flows only 20 kilometers in the state. The interlinking will only benefit neighbouring states.

The state has sought an additional 80 TMC of water share in the interlinking of Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery Rivers from the union government with an intention to bring 8 lakh hectares of agricultural land into irrigation. However, the union government has not agreed to it and the state has been objecting and raising its demand. Now since this ambitious project has been announced in the budget and since BJP is in power in both states as well as at the centre, it is expected that Karnataka will at least get 50 TMC of water share.

If consensus is not reached at the DPR level, it will create inter-state disputes. The matter will again reach the courts. During these times of ecological imbalance, the availability of water in the rivers can't be predicted and it is going to create more rifts among states.

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