The Natural Law says Water extinguishes the fire. But, now, the water itself flares in between our two States. What an Irony!
Without contemplating the reason behind your persistence to deny water to Tamilnadu vehemently this time, compared to earlier times, the politicians and media over here are portraying you as bad people by exaggerating, your denial of water, again and again. In the same way, when Kannadiga friends also write in Social Medias about Tamils and Tamilnadu expressing their views on this issue, it’s quite obvious that the same situation prevails over there too.
So, this is a small effort undertaken on behalf of the Tamil people to bring certain facts without political drama and media politics to your - the people of Karnataka - direct notice. Kindly read this people’s letter thoroughly, written by the people, for the people.
“There is a scarcity for even drinking water in Karnataka. In this situation, Tamilnadu demands water for their agriculture. Is it justifiable?” is the question that has been raised by the rulers of Karnataka right from the beginning in the Cauvery water issue. When a state does not have even the drinking water for its people and if the neighbor state demands water for its agriculture, not only the people of the particular state but even whoever hears about it will resent. That is the reason that the centuries old Cauvery water dispute has become very intense this time and the people are very emotional than hitherto. But, is it true? Do we demand the whole of your water source to the extent not even leaving potable water for you?
Our dear friends, if Karnataka will become arid just because we request water, then, to be honest, we do not want that water at all! If we have to leave your throats dry to make our hearts calm, then we do not need that calmness! To keep our lands green, if you have to sacrifice your lands going arid then we never want to have that yield! We never wish to quench the thirst of our children leaving your children without drinking water! But, what is the fact?
The Karnataka Government says, “This year, in our state the rainfall is 48% lesser than usual. So, the inflow in Cauvery is deficient”. But, as per the report of the Indian Meteorological Centre, the rainfall in Karnataka has decreased only 6%. That is why the unjustifiable argument placed by the Karnataka Government at the Supreme Court and to the Cauvery panel has been dismissed. It is the primary information, you, the people of Karnataka must know.
The Karnataka Government has been citing continuously that the state has inadequate water supply even for drinking purpose. But, the fact is that the State has been using its major portion of water for irrigation and not for drinking. These are not, our words dear friends, we are quoting your state secretary’s statement.
The argument of Tamil Nadu Advocate at the Supreme Court on 20.09.2016 was that the Karnataka state is using its major portion of its water source for irrigation pointing at the statement of your state secretary that the Karnataka Government is using 24 TMC water for irrigation as evidence. I would like to bring to your attention that the Supreme Court also accepted it and rejected the argument of the Karnataka Government advocate who argued, “Judgment should not be favorable for Tamilnadu to release water for it.”
My kind-hearted friends! Just think a while. Is it justifiable when a state Government is prepared to devote 24 TMC water for its agricultural irrigation but denies to share the water for the same irrigation purpose with the neighbor state saying that the total water is for drinking purpose in their state?
It does not end here. Another downright fact is…
Karnataka Chief Minister Mr. Siddaramaiah raises this question, “There is only 26 TMC water in our Dams. But, the requirement for drinking water in our state is 27 TMC. In this situation how can we share the water with Tamilnadu?” But, during the past Independence Day speech the same Siddaramaiah said, “Under the Karnataka Neeravari Nigam plan, Cauvery water has been reserved in 437 lakes.” Thus, as per the news, the quantity of the Cauvery water stored in the lakes by the Karnataka Government itself is more than 100 TMC.
So, just give a thought that is it not filthy, reserving all the Cauvery water at different places and deny sharing the water reasoning out that there is no water in the dams?
You may raise a question, “Cauvery originates in our land. So, it is our property. We may use our water for irrigation, drinking, storing or for any other purpose. Who are you to ask for?”
My dear friends! Cauvery is not a product created by either Kannadians or Tamils. It is the Gift of Nature. Kannadian, Tamilian, Malayali, Indian - all these were generated in later years. But, you must think about that even from the age old period when you and we colonize as human beings without any identities like language, race and Country, we have been living depending on the Cauvery.
Even now the origin of Cauvery may be in your land. But, right from the period, even before the state boundaries were divided – Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, Kerala – we all had been using the Cauvery water. As you have been using the Cauvery water for more than thousand years, we also have been using it for the same thousand years. In the same way, as you are dependent on Cauvery for irrigation and drinking water, in our state 20 districts depend only on Cauvery for irrigation and drinking water. So, you have to accept that whether if it is by usage or requirement, as much as right the people of Karnataka have over the Cauvery water, Tamils, as well as Malayalis, also have the right to the Cauvery water.
Some people may not accept this as they may say, “As the boundaries are to protect one’s rights, now, is it right to put forward and argue by the period when boundaries were not created?” Even if we argue by the present condition, as per the law and justice, the people who live in the Delta region of a river have more rights over it than the people who live in and around the origin of the river. So, in any way, or however it’s analyzed, Tamils also have all the rights over the Cauvery water is an undeniable truth, my friends!
But, if it is said in the social media, the people of Karnataka quarrel a lot. Their argument is as follows. “You are just thinking about only your rights. Based on the agreement signed during the British period, even now you are demanding that you require this much TMC or that much TMC. But, is the situation today as same as that day? How much is the population of Karnataka in those years and now? How much was the requirement of food and water that day and now? As a lot of changes have taken place in between these years, is it right to speak by the old agreement even in this condition?”
Well, all your questions are justifiable. At the same time, you have to analyze the answers to these issues keenly.
During the British period – that is – in the year 1924, based on an agreement signed between the rulers of Mysore and Madras Rajadhani, the share of water to Tamilnadu was 576.68 TMC, which was reduced to 389 TMC during the period of Indira Gandhi. Further, Cauvery Commission’s Interim Report reduced it to 205 TMC. Still further, Commission’s final report adjudicated to lessen the share of Tamil Nadu to 192 TMC. But, now, the share requested by the Tamil Nadu at the Supreme Court was just 50 TMC. And, the Supreme Court Judges directed the Karnataka Government to release a very meager share of 15 TMC. My dear friends, your Government has undertaken this much of political moves and court activities just to deny even that negligible amount of water. Just not to share even this insignificant 15 TMC of water, some people of Karnataka indulged in violence and demonstrations.
Dear People of Karnataka! Just touch your heart for a second and tell, if we have to get our share of the Cauvery water without any opposition from you, how much we have to lessen it still down?
And, Kindly make it clear, if our share of the water is lessened further down and down, what is the use of getting our share and what we can do with that meager amount of water?
But, Friends, what we have written above do not mean that we are prepared to believe your words that Cauvery water is not enough for you. But, you have to analyze the reasons why it is not sufficient.
In the year 1972, Karnataka’s irrigated land was 6.83 lakh acres. But, at present, it is 27.28 lakh acres. Approximately, irrigated land has multiplied four times. It is very happy to know that your agriculture has prospered. It is your right to multiply your agricultural lands as per your needs. But, after using your share of Cauvery water for the agricultural purposes, if you wish to extend your agricultural land further, is it not that you have to explore different possible ways to get additional water? Is it not the right way? On the contrary, after using the share of another state to extend your agricultural lands, just think deeply, is it honest on your part to deny water, saying it is not sufficient for your extended lands and giving advice to other states to transform the sea water to potable water to meet the needs?
Dear fellows, insisting our share of Cauvery water alone has become news in the media. But, do you know how much we are affected without Cauvery water?
In Tamil Nadu, Cauvery is the heartbeat of Thanjavur region. Here, 21,58,800 acres of land depend on Cauvery. Cauvery is the life for four lakhs farmers and 16 lakhs of people with agricultural activities in this region. Since there is no flow in the Cauvery River, the Cauvery delta has lost 5 lakh acres of farm land in the past 35 years. If cultivated it should be irrigated at the right time. But, every year, after every effort like negotiations, political haggling, adjournment of cases before getting the water from the Karnataka government all the crops wilt and wither.
Since every year farmers face the loss like this in the delta regions, they are forced to leave agriculture, and they are switching over to other works. 50% of farmers have relocated to different parts. In fact, at present, most of the places do not have people in the age group of 35 or below. That much the relocation of people has happened here as it happens during war period or drought period!
All agricultural lands are becoming plots for multiple storied buildings, industrial buildings and apartments. So far, more than a hundred thousand acres of farm lands have become housing plots. In the rest of the agricultural lands people who continue to cultivate are not able to depend on Cauvery and so they are irrigating the lands with bore water which has led to the depletion of ground water source paving way for the sea water to enter. Ground water has become brackish water. In the total 35 blocks in Cauvery Basin, water in 8 blocks has become salty. It spreads fast to the rest of the region too. In Seergazhi, Tharangampadi Districts, people don’t get potable water.
In short, Thanjavur which was considered the rice bowl of India, once upon a time, has become not worth for living. Yes! Since Cauvery water is denied, not only our agriculture and requirement of drinking water has got affected but also the whole natural environment has got infected.
When the facts are these, the Karnataka rulers have been spreading wrong propaganda about Tamils wherever they go as “the neighbor state is having scarcity for even drinking water but they are irrigating their lands using the drinking water”. Believing these words, some people of Karnataka become emotional and are attacking Tamils over there. In return, hearing and viewing those violent incidents some people over here in Tamilnadu are attacking Kannada people who come to Tamilnadu. The relationship of the two neighbor state is getting disrupted and hatred flares.
To the culmination of all these, the Karnataka Government has sent Cauvery water to Tamilnadu mixing with sewage water. On October 3rd 2016, the Supreme Court ordered that every day Karnataka should release 2000 cubic feet of water to Tamilnadu. Following this the Karnataka Government has released Cauvery water mixing with sewage on October 7th. It is to be noted down, even before this, couple of times, the Karnataka Government has done like this and was denounced by the National Green Tribunal. Don’t you think this is a pinnacle of rampage? My friends if you have good heart, please give a thought about it!
In fact, such acts by the Karnataka Government will earn a bad name for it only. Every time, when, false reports and arguments presented by the Karnataka Government are write off by the Supreme Court and the National level boards like Cauvery Supervisory Panel, it is a humiliation for the Karnataka Government and you people of Karnataka only. If the Tamilnadu Government appeals to the Supreme Court about the Karnataka Government for mixing the sewage water in Cauvery, you must consider what a stigma on you!
Yes my friends! It is a fact that the rulers of Karnataka are not only acting against Tamilnadu but by their wrong activities they are bringing irrevocable shame on you people too.
My friends! It is not our intention of accusing or blaming you. This letter is not even an effort raising our voice over our rights regarding the Cauvery water. It is just to bring to your notice about the justice on our side in getting the Cauvery water and how we are affected without it. Leave aside the identities like Indian, Kannadian, Tamilian and on the humanist perspective just analyze the facts said in this letter. After appraising the facts, apprise and make aware of it to your Government and not to us, whether Cauvery water should be released to Tamilnadu or not.
At this juncture, when the hatred between our two states has grown like a hill, even after knowing that this letter contains opposed views, I thank you all people from the bottom of my heart for reading this letter completely with patience!
P.S: Tamil Version of this article will be published soon.
(Firstly written in Quora.com)
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Sources: Wikipedia, Indian Express, BBC-Tamil, Vikatan weekly, Dinamani Newspaper, Dinakaran Newspaper.