The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

A dream that cannot come true

Sir — The castle that Bharat Bhushan builds in the air in “After the Kashmir elections” (Sept 25), stands on three supremely weak assumptions. One, that the elections and the resultant “stable” government can be the answer to all Kashmir’s ills. Two, the belief that this government will work such wonders that paramilitary forces can be withdrawn from the state, leaving the police to take care of “law and order”. Three, that Kashmir can be solved through “good neighbourliness” between India and Pakistan. It is good that we should be dreaming about peace, but let us not pass it off as reality. First, it is wrong to assume that a government formed on the mandate of less than half the people of the state can be “stable”, and can decide whether there is need to talk to formations like the Hurriyat. Two, the police can never assume control over militancy of the Kashmir kind. And three, it would be foolish to expect good neighbourliness from Pakistan. Let us dream some other dream.

Yours faithfully,
J. Acharya, Calcutta

Unquiet flows the Cauvery

Sir — As the report, “Cauvery water slash irks TN” (Sept 9), points out, Tamil Nadu has rejected outright the the Cauvery river authority’s distress water-sharing forumla, which has asked Karnataka to release 0.8 thousand million cubic feet of water on a weekly average basis. It has already challenged the order in the Supreme Court. But the question is, will either the river authority or the apex court be able to solve the problem if there is insufficient water to meet the needs of both states, especially given that the ever-expanding area under irrigation and the crop pattern will perpetually pose problems'

The Cauvery water dispute, which has been festering for ages now, has been aggravated by the cutting down of forests to bring more land under cultivation and consequently, greater water requirements which the river cannot meet. To work out a solution, arrangements need to be made to collect more water during the rainy season, particularly in Tamil Nadu, where the monsoon visits twice every year, to be used during the dry season. The states should also consider changing the existing crop pattern in the Cauvery basin to crops like pulses, millets, oilseeds, cotton, fruits, which need less water, from water-intensive crops like paddy and sugarcane. The lasting solution to the Cauvery discord lies in the efficient utilization of the available water.

Yours faithfully,
B.C. Dutta, Calcutta

Sir — The Cauvery river has been the cause of a longstanding dispute between the riparian states. The issue has reached a head now probably because of J. Jayalalithaa’s problems with the Congress, which rules neighbouring Karnataka. Whatever the political motives, the attendant violence, damage to railway property, bandhs and other incidents have severely inconvenienced the people of the region.

The demand of Tamil Nadu that Karnataka deliver a fixed quantity of water, irrespective of the inflow into the river is unreasonable. The most feasible solution would be to acknowledge that the delivery of water cannot be ensured on an average basis for the week. One has to depend on nature for adequate water in Cauvery. Tamil Nadu should build storage tanks and store the excess water of the river. Since there is likely to be plenty of undersoil water in the paddy or sugarcane fields, borewells should be dug to utilize it.

Water resources are dwindling throughout the country due to increasing population, reduction of forests, natural calamities and so on. Which means the crop pattern should be changed in regions with chronic water shortage. One hopes the Supreme Court suitably advises the plaintiffs to reconsider their cases so that the common people of the two states are not further troubled.

Yours faithfully,
B.S. Ganesh, Bangalore

Sir — Why does the Cauvery issue assume centrestage every time J. Jayalalithaa is in the chief minister’s seat' The question needs to be pondered, since Cauvery has made headlines nationally each time that the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader has tried to gain a political brownie point. There is no doubt that Cauvery this time is being used as a handle to further tease the Congress leader, Sonia Gandhi. In fact, the rekindling of the water dispute coincided with Jayalalithaa’s raising the “foreigner” issue with the Nehru-Gandhi bahu.

The water dispute is an indication that Jayalalithaa is reasserting her national position. By criticizing Sonia Gandhi she has made it plain to the ruling dispensation that she is not allying with the Congress for the general elections. But by refusing to stand by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-mediated Cauvery water authority’s directive to Karnataka to release a specified amount of water every week, she has made it clear that she won’t be easy game for the saffronites as well. All of which means that it is mindless politics being played over the river again.

Yours faithfully,
S. Samanta, Calcutta

Sir — J. Jayalalithaa has gone to the Supreme Court with the Cauvery dispute again. The latter has even showcaused the Karnataka chief minister, S.M. Krishna, for not complying with its directive of water release. This is not the first time that the apex court has been brought into this dispute. In an earlier regime of Jayalalithaa, it had forced Karnataka to release a stipulated amount of water immediately to Tamil Nadu. But should the judiciary be brought in at all in such petty matters' Forcing the hands of the executive of a particular state can be a temporary solution to a problem. But can repeated interventions of this kind perman- ently solve a problem which should ideally be sorted out between the states themselves'

Yours faithfully,
M. Krishna, Calcutta

Parting shot

Sir — If big money has tainted cricket, Sony Max has certainly killed it. It is ridiculous that the channel should have chosen someone like Ruby Bhatia in her skimpy dress as one of the main anchors of Extraa Innings. One also feels sorry for the astrologer who predicts a great innings from Sachin Tendulkar every day. Hope Tendulkar proves her right in the ICC Champions Trophy final.

Yours faithfully,
Anagh Pal, Calcutta

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