Jayalalithaa writes to PM on Pennaiyar river dispute with Karnataka
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on Sunday accused the Karnataka Government of planning to build check dams across Pennaiyar River. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa sought his intervention to advise Karnataka not to go ahead with the proposed check dam operation. Sunday's letter to the Prime Minister came a day after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had raised the Cauvery water sharing issue and sought Dr. Singh's intervention.
She said that Karnataka's proposal to construct the check dams and diversion structures across Pennaiyar were "causing great alarm and apprehension in Tamil Nadu". Noting that the river, flowing through Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Thiruvannamalai, Villupuram and Cuddalore, was the "lifeline" of the people in these districts, she said it irrigates an ayacut of nearly four lakh acres. "Any attempt to withhold the flows by constructing check dams and diversion structures across the Pennaiyar River will be a serious breach of the existing Inter-State Agreement on this issue," she said.
"This will also be a body blow to the farmers of Tamil Nadu besides affecting the basic drinking water supply position", Jayalalithaa added. She accused Karnataka Government of neither seeking the consent of Tamil Nadu nor furnishing any information about the details of the scheme as sought by the state. Tamil Nadu had urged Karnataka not to commence any work without its consent. In her earlier letter to Singh, Jayalalithaa had charged Karnataka with "unjustly utilising" Cauvery water and asked him to convene a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority to discuss the issue.
The Karnataka Government has rejected Jayalalithaa's charge and opposed the demand for a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority. It said that it was already ensuring the release of excess water as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's order.