CHENNAI: Lashing out at the Congress’ double standards on the Cauvery issue, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Monday dared the Congress to obtain water from Karnataka rather than faulting Tamil Nadu government on the acute water crisis in the state.
“Tamil Nadu is facing the worst drought in 40 years and despite insufficient rains and drastic decline in groundwater level, the state government has been taking adequate steps to provide water to people. You should speak with conscience as you are a farmer,” Palaniswami said pointing to Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader K. R. Ramasamy.
The CM's outburst in the Assembly on Monday followed an accusation by Ramaswamy who taunted the state government on the lack of appropriate water management measures or water augmentation proposals, which he said he was willing to provide to the government. “First accept there is water crisis in the state. You don't seem to have the inclination to spend on drinking water projects. I have schemes which I can offer to you if you want (to implement) them,” Ramasamy said while raising the severe water shortage being faced by the people in the state, particularly those in Chennai. “I am happy that at least now you have thought of installing a desalination plant (at Nemmeli) recently,” he remarked.
Intervening, Palaniswami hit back reminding the Congress senior that his party president (Rahul Gandhi) had during his campaign for the April Lok Sabha election in Karnataka assured Mekedatu dam and also disband the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) if the Congress came to power. “Why don't you prevail upon your ally in Karnataka to release Cauvery water due for Tamil Nadu. If it happens, then we can bring the water from Mettur to Veeranam and then to Chennai to meet the people's requirement,” Palaniswami said amidst thumping by Treasury Benches.
Also, he said the Congress in Tamil Nadu turned blind to the plight of the people in the State, and it did not bother to condemn Karnataka. “But you are needlessly finding fault with the state government,” the CM added.
To this, Ramasamy remarked that it was the state government's responsibility to obtain Cauvery water.
The government could form a joint committee comprising of Congress and DMK members as representatives, also, and the panel could visit Karnataka to resolve the issue, he suggested.
Retorting, Palaniswami said, “Water is everybody's problem. You have failed to condemn your president.”