HUBLI, December 1: The former Minister and KPCC general secretary Basavaraj Rayaraddi has urged the State government not to accept the final award of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal(KWDT-II) as Karnataka had been deprived of another 60 tmcft of water, which is its rightful share.
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Rayaraddi said the award could neither be termed as a setback to Andhra Pradesh nor as a victory to Karnataka. “In fact, Karnataka has been awarded less water share than what it should have rightfully got,” he said.
Mr. Rayaraddi said even in the earlier award of the KWDT, Karnataka did not get its rightful share. “The award of 177 tmcft of water to Karnataka is as per natural justice. There is nothing to feel elated about,” he said.
He said under the Krishna river basin, 43.8 per cent land area falls in Karnataka, 26.8 per cent in Maharashtra and 29.4 per cent in Andhra Pradesh.
Taking into consideration the land area, Karnataka should have got a water share commensurate with the area.
Discussion at session
Mr. Rayaraddi said he would urge the Chief Minister to hold a comprehensive discussion on the final award in the ongoing legislature session to decide the next course of action.
He said he would also urge Mr. Siddaramaiah to immediately convene an all-party meeting on the issue. “Since it is the final award of KWDT-II, the meeting and session should explore the legal route of approaching the Supreme Court for seeking revision of the final award,” he said.
Admitting that the State is yet to stand united on Krishna water issues like it does in the Cauvery case, he said: “I would also urge the Opposition to show unity and take up the issue like they do in the case of Cauvery waters.”
“The government should take immediate steps to increase the height of Alamatti dam from 519 ft to 524 ft. As the increase in height would lead to submersion of 96,000 acres and would necessitate the shifting of 22 villages and their rehabilitation, immediate rehabilitation plans should be chalked out. The government has recently appointed the rehabilitation commissioner, a post which had remained vacant during the BJP government,” he said.
He said he would urge the Chief Minister to immediately set up a monitoring committee and an implementation committee to oversee the work and also to monitor the implementation of the action plan on irrigation projects for which the State had promised to spend Rs. 10,000 crore every year.
On irrigation projects
Mr. Rayaraddi also said the former BJP Ministers had no moral right to speak on the irrigation projects in north Karnataka, as during their tenure, only 13 to 14 per cent of the plan expenditure was spent on irrigation. He said the highest allocation for irrigation project was during the S.M. Krishna government when 39.58 per cent of the plan expenditure was spent on irrigation projects. Between 2000 and 2006, when the Congress and the Congress-JD(S) combine were in power, 4.95 lakh hectares of farmlands were brought under irrigation. However, during the BJP tenure, up till 2013, only 2.54 lakh hectares of farmlands were brought under irrigation — almost half of the progress achieved during the Congress rule, he said.
He pointed out that Mr. Siddaramaiah had announced Rs. 10,000 crore towards irrigation projects..