Tamilian Nirmala Sitharaman announced interlinking of rivers to benefit Tamil Nadu Siddaramaiah

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Bengaluru, Feb 4

 Karnataka Leader of Opposition from the Congress, Siddaramaiah coming down heavily on the central government in connection with the interlinking of rivers of southern India, stated that since Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman belongs to Tamil Nadu, she has announced the river-interlinking project which is going to benefit that state.

Siddaramaiah also demanded an all-party meeting of all south Indian states to discuss the interlinking of southern rivers.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Siddaramaiah stated that according to him Tamil Nadu would get more water from the project. "It seems she (Nirmala Sitharaman) has not discussed anything about it with our state government. What I strongly feel is Nirmala Sitharaman belongs to Tamil Nadu and that is why she has proposed this project," he reiterated.

"Tamil Nadu will get more benefits from the river interlinking project. The neighbouring state will have more than 90 per cent benefit by this project as per my analysis and Karnataka will have very minimal benefits. Why is Nirmala Sitharaman and the Water Resources Minister not showing interest in implementing the Mekedatu project? Only environmental clearance is pending for the project. Why no interest in implementing the project? That shows the government of India is biased against Karnataka," Siddaramaiah claimed.

He observed that without discussion, without getting consent from the states, announcing the project goes against the federal structure of the country, and leads to inter-state water disputes. "So, I demand the central government to call all party meetings of all southern states and chief ministers as well. All information on river interlinking should be presented before the public on availability of water from rivers and share of water for respective states," he demanded.

The state government should call an all-party meeting, activists and discuss the issue. "This project should be opposed and we will oppose it. Quantity of water given should be known to Karnataka," he maintained.

"This is a classic example of the step-motherly attitude and dictatorial approach of the central government."

"Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the budget on Feb 1 for 2022-23 financial year proposed interlinking of south Indian rivers and stated that Rs 46,000 crores has been reserved for this project. This project is not practical," he maintained.

"We all know, barring Rajasthan, the state of Karnataka has the most dry land in the country. More than 70 per cent of the land is dependent on rains, while in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala more than 55 per cent of the land has been irrigated. In Karnataka only 30 per cent of land available for cultivation is being irrigated," he said.

"They say they will implement the project in two stages and Karnataka though won't get benefitted in the first stage, it will be benefited in the second stage. Let it be discussed at length before the commencement of the project. Because, we are also partners of this project. Cauvery River takes birth in Karnataka and then flows to Tamil Nadu," he said.

"BJP leaders are master liars and they also get support. There are 25 BJP MPs from the state. Not a single day they have asked about interlinking of Ganga, Brahmaputra and Cauvery Rivers. The BJP government in Karnataka is also tight lipped about it. After the budget, the state government and MPs have not even spoken about it and how they are protecting the interests of the state. I demand the state government call an all- party meeting. The government is answerable to the legislature and people of Karnataka", he stated.


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