Chennai: The proposal to launch the second phase of the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project with a view to increasing the number of beneficiaries in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, at a cost of 4,600 crore, is seemingly heading for another inter-state dispute as Ministers on both sides have displayed belligerence for and against the move.
State Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said on Saturday that Tamil Nadu had the right to launch the second phase of the project, responding to a remark by the Karnataka Water Resources Minister, Govind Karjol, that it would not allow it and oppose the implementation through all legal means.
Kajrol came out with the angry statement soon after Chief Minister M K Stalin announced the plan for the second phase while inaugurating schemes for Dharmapuri district a few days ago, prompting Duraimurugan to aver that the State was legally and on a humanitarian basis entitled to implement the expansion project.
Explaining his stand, the Minister, who had been handling the various inter-State water disputes for many years as PWD Minister in the previous DMK regime, said the Cauvery River Water Tribunal had earmarked water for drinking water purpose, too, in its final verdict.
The tribunal order that had been confirmed by the Supreme Court provides for drawing 11 TMC water for drinking purpose and the policies of the Indian and Tamil Nadu governments gave priority for supply of drinking water, he said in a statement.
Also he said that diversion of water from any of the reservoirs for domestic, civic or industrial purposes was left to the State concerned, vowing to implement the second phase at any cost.
PMK Youth Wing President Anbumani Ramadoss also wanted the State government to expedite the second phase of the Hogenakkal project and accused the Karnataka Minister of trying to gain political mileage out by creating a controversy.
He pointed out that Tamil Nadu, which along with Puducherry, was at the tail end of the Cauvery and that it had the right to use the river water for whatever purpose by only providing 7 TMC water to the neighboring union territory.
But Karjol’s claim is that a part of the area in which the second phase will be implemented falls within the jurisdiction of Karnataka. He also said no new project could be taken up without informing the Tribunal and Supreme Court.
Duraimurugan said the Tribunal has allocated water to each of the riparian States based on their irrigation needs, besides allowing for the drawing of water for drinking purposes, and wondered as to what sort of a humanism was Karnataka displaying.