Bengaluru: With parts of Karnataka reeling under drought, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Tuesday blamed the country's federal system which, he claimed, restricted the people of Karnataka from using water of their state.
"It is the misfortune of our state that even if we fill our tanks, if we have to use our water, the federal structure of the country is such that we are obligated to abide by the court and (river water) tribunal's directions," the chief minister told reporters at Mandya.
Kumaraswamy was speaking after meeting the kin of a farmer at a village in Mandya who allegedly committed suicide.
Before dying, Suresh took a selfie-video addressed to the chief minister where he blamed loans and the lack of water in the water bodies in the locality, for his taking the extreme step and asks the CM to ensure filling the tanks.
He urged farmers not to take such extreme steps because government was looking into their problems. Kumaraswamy said the government has allocated Rs 213 crore for filling the tanks in the district to improve the groundwater table.
The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) had recently asked Karnataka to release 9.19 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) water to the lower riparian states for June.
Expressing the state government's helplessness in using its water, Kumaraswamy said "We have to release a definite amount of water to Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery Authority has been formed.It has officers representing Tamil Nadu and the Centre. Today, they have todecide how to distribute the water. The state government is not in a position to decide," the chief minister rued. Explaining that the helplessness was not restricted to Cauvery but other rivers too, Kumaraswamy said, "We have been dealt blows in the Cauvery case, Upper riparian of Krishna river and Mahadayi river project water..we are not allowed to use our share of water. I am not the only one responsible for these many problems but we are trying to rectify things."
Asked why loans still haunt farmers despite crop loan waiver by the government, the chief minister said loan waiver was not a permanent solution and pointed out private money lenders need to be controlled. Kumaraswamy said a law has been formulated in the state, which the government would strengthen further. "How will you repay loans taken from private individuals? Wehave brought a law to contain the menace of private bankers pestering people.
I am trying to strengthen the law further." In this context, Kumaraswamy recalled a stringent law in existence in neighbouring Kerala to rein in private money lenders and protect the borrowers from harassment.
"..I have got the copy of the law to study it." He said asimilar law would be formulated in Karnataka in the comingsession. "A commission has been formed in Kerala which gives protection to the person who has taken the loan.They have brought it into effect.
I have sought all the details from them. We have decided to discuss the matter of money lenders in the coming assembly (session)," the chief minister added.
The opposition BJP has hit out at the Congress-JD(S) coalition government asking it to focus on development of the state and drought relief measures.