Lok Sabha polls: Farmers fear parties may politicise Mahadayi

Hubballi: Expressing apprehension over the delay in the implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri project, many leaders of farmers on Sunday expressed fears that all parties may politicise the issue again as the Lok Sabha elections are fast approaching.

Welcoming the decision of the state government to convene a meeting of former chief ministers and water resource ministers on December 6 to discuss Karnataka's water disputes and irrigation projects, they contended that the leaders from North Karnataka lacked the political will to find a solution for early utilisation of state's share of Mahadayi water.

They warned that they would approach the Supreme Court if the state's legal team failed in getting the special leave petition disposed of at the earliest. Stating that water had not reached farmers even after the Mahadayi tribunal gave its verdict three months, the leaders said that an all-party meeting should have been convened to resolve the legal tangle. “Political parties never made efforts to resolve the issue by setting aside their differences. The delay in utilising the state's share of water has become a cause for concern among the farmers. Politicians may drag the issue further as the Lok Sabha elections are just a few months away,” farmers' leader Vikas Soppin said. 

The leaders lashed out against the Congress leaders from North Karnataka for remaining mute to the issue. 

Many of them condemned former water resources minister H.K. Patil, who hailed from the Malaprabha river basin, for writing to the government on the issue though his party is in power. 

Terming his move a publicity gimmick, they said Mr Patil should have held discussions with the Chief Minister to get the SLP disposed of at the earliest to facilitate the Union Government to issue a gazette notification on the tribunal's award. 

“We welcome Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's attempt to take the issue to the logical end. But the leaders from the region showed little interest in speeding up the work on Kalasa-Banduri project by pressuring the government," Mr Soppin said.

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