Tuesday, October 9, 2012

'Nadanthai Vazhi Kaveri' - TN to move SC - contempt of court


It was year 1972 – a great film about the sage Agastyar (Agathiyar), son of Pulasthya, son of Brahma.  According to mythology, the river Cauvery flowed from the kamandalam of Sage Agathiya.  The title song of the film ‘Agathiyar’ was ‘Nadanthai Vaazhi Kaveri’ – glorifying the river Cauvery as one who makes all the land fertile and pervading goodness in all her path……  a beautiful song sung by ‘Seerkazhi Govindarajan’ the famous singer who was also the hero in the film.  The background music was by Kunnakudi  Vaidhyanathan.

நடந்தாய் வாழி காவேரி,  நடந்தாய் வாழி காவேரி ;
நாடெங்குமே செழிக்க நன்மையெல்லாம் சிறக்க

All that is history – another  failed monsoon and the troubled Cauvery water is all set to spill to the streets of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu wants its legitimate share of water from the river, but the latter says nothing more that what they have decided will be given, which is less than half of what the Prime Minister has requested.  For about 17 lakh farmers of the Cauvery basin districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Trichy and Nagapattinam, the water from the river is their lifeline. They solely depend on Cauvery water to raise three rounds of crops – Kuruvai, Samba and Thaladi. Of this, Kuruvai, the most important of the three, has already failed this year because of the shortage of water and the state cannot afford to lose the Samba crop as well. 

It’s unfortunate that the age-old river dispute, that too for the survival of farmers in south India, has become so intensely political. In the unified structure whenever there are legal setbacks, Karnataka resorts to violent protests.  The tribunal established in 1990, after years of complicated wrangling stipulated the quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu and had even restricted the area of cultivation by Cauvery water in Karnataka.

Now ahead of the Supreme Court decision and after the PM’s directive, Karnataka has taken to streets and tries to mobilize its will through agitations.  Kanndada film actors, members of Kannada organizations and politicians  have joined hands taking out rallies. A farmers’ body spearheading the stir against release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu began a relay hunger strike  in protest against Karnataka’s action and warned that people would stop paying taxes – and if you are to state of lawlessness the CM himself walked out of the meeting of the PM and then the State Govt. announced that they are no longer in a position to supply and hence stopped water from 8th Oct 2012.  

The protests have been growing bigger and Karnataka has been seeking  the CRA to stay its 19 September order asking the state to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily till 15 October and keep it in abeyance till the decision was subjected to review.  The water stoppage came yesterday (i.e., on 8th Oct 12) hours after Dr Manmohan Singh made it clear only the CRA can review its order directing the state to release 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu.  The former Union minister and Congress leader Ambareesh welcomed the Karnataka government’s decision to stop water release.

It clearly is politics of hatred and ill-will.  The Centre lacks the political will to decide nor implement the Apex Court orders, allowing vested interests to hijack the issue for petty political gain. Even if the situation is grim, how can there be threats by some parties that there would be a militant response if the Supreme Court doesn’t rescind its order to release water to Tamil Nadu.  When will they be made to realize that they are threatening the highest Constitutional authority in this country.  Inside Karnataka, there are areas which are worse off than Mandya, like Chickballapur and Kolar, where there isn’t even enough water to drink.  But since the Cauvery issue is an emotive one, political leaders of all hues are jumping onto the bandwagon while nobody talks about the water crisis in Hyderabad-Karnataka or Central Karnataka.

Inside Karnataka, as also in other parts of India there are numerous water bodies which are left uncared for, weed infested, stinking and badly in need of de-silting.  Who cares for them or for farmers of these region ?    All Indians and respected brethren should understand that the crisis erupts when there is shortage. In fact, it is the time when statesmanship and reason should prevail over petty politics and provincial pride. When the resources are limited, one should learn how to share with compassion and equanimity.

When Karnataka is so boiling, people in Tamilnadu are not reacting. A few years ago, many stars of tinseldom spoke cine dialogues in Neyveli, they are all busy at least in soap-operas, not thinking of Cauvery, water  crisis, farmers, failed crops ……. There are 39 elected MPs ; 20 Rajya Sabha MPs including the 2 nominated – they have not had a common meeting even, have not cared to meet the PM and others to plead, if not impress the dire straits of delta farmers.  If it fails, then the opposition parties in Tamilnadu can and sure will attach the ruling ADMK but none of them feel the need for putting up a united face at least on this issue.  

There is news that the  Tamil Nadu government  today has  decided to move the Supreme Court for initiating contempt of court proceedings against the Karnataka government on the Cauvery issue.  A petition in this regard would be filed immediately, according to an official release issued after a meeting taken by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa with Public Works Minister K.V. Ramalingam, Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi and Public Works Secretary M. Saikumar.

Karnataka is not India, and Mandya is not Karnataka – India is a federal structure with many States. Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Karnataka, Kerala are all parts of the Centre and there is a Prime Minister at the helm of affairs.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Oct 2012. 

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