The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jaya in Sai Baba funds spot

Chennai, Aug. 20: The Jayalalithaa government is in a dilemma over approaching Sathya Sai Baba to seek funds for the Telugu-Ganga project, under which it was agreed that Krishna water will be supplied to Chennai.

Tamil Nadu is supposed to get 12tmcft of Krishna water under the project. Andhra Pradesh chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu, when he was in Chennai recently, said he was keen to supply Krishna water but the inflows into the reservoirs in his state had been disappointing and there was no water to give.

But even when Andhra has enough storage in the Shomashila reservoir, from where the waters flow downstream to Kandaleru reservoir and then to the ‘zero point’ on the border with Tamil Nadu, the flow is meagre because of seepage in the Kandaleru-Poondi canal, the last link in the project.

Andhra has now taken up fresh lining of the canal at considerable cost. Sathya Sai Baba, the spiritual leader who lives at Puttaparthi, has substantially funded the effort that will alleviate Chennai’s acute water shortage.

The work should be over by September 2003, according to A. Ramakrishna, president and deputy managing director of Larsen and Toubro, which is doing the relining. Sathya Sai Baba was “willing to spend a little more money” for repair on the Tamil Nadu side if the state approached him “in the necessary fashion” and even “sent a messenger, if need be, to meet the Swamiji”, Ramakrishna said.

He was speaking at a CII-sponsored seminar today on Emerging Trends and Technologies in Water.

Getting financial assistance from the godman would help speed up the repair, Ramakrishna reasoned, turning towards the state local administration and urban water supply minister M.C. Sampath.

But for a faint smile, the Tamil Nadu minister did not respond. In his address later, Sampath made no reference to this suggestion, which was first mooted some months ago in the Assembly by Congress leader S.R. Balasubramoniyan.

The minister merely said the Jayalalithaa government was working on an integrated water management policy.

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