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All-party team to apprise Manmohan on Krishna waters

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, JULY 26. The Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, will lead an all-party delegation to meet the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to apprise him of the problems related to the irrigation projects in the State. The delegation will leave for Delhi after the budget session of the legislature ends.

Making a statement in the Legislative Assembly here on Monday, Mr. Dharam Singh said Karnataka had not released water from Alamatti Reservoir. He said water would not be released to Andhra Pradesh without taking the Opposition into confidence.

No directive from PM

The Chief Minister clarified that Mr. Manmohan Singh had spoken to him over phone about the issue, but had not directed him to release water to Andhra Pradesh. When informed of the irrigation and drinking water requirements of the region, the Prime Minister said: "It is all right and you think it over." There was no directive from the Prime Minister, he stated.

Mr. Dharam Singh said though Karnataka's stand had been made clear to the Centre, reports had emanated saying that the State had agreed to release water. "I asked the Minister for Water Resources, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, why they were embarrassing us. I told Mr. Dasmunshi that I had to take the legislature into confidence and also get official reports about the situation, before getting back to him."

Appeal to farmers

Appealing to the farmers to give up their agitation, he said their interest would be protected. Coming from the same region, he said, he was aware of the irrigation and drinking water problems and how 43 taluks faced severe drought.

The Leader of the Opposition, B.S.Yediyurappa, urged the Government to abide by the decision taken, more so when farmers had made sowing preparations in about five lakh hectares of land in the region.

A.P. criticised

Mr. Yediyurappa pointed out that Andhra Pradesh was "intentionally" raking up the issue to make a case that Karnataka was not utilising its share of waters.

He urged the Chief Minister to initiate an inquiry into the misappropriation of funds meant for irrigation projects. An allocation of Rs. 3,077 crore had been made to the Irrigation Department and Krishna Jala Bhagya Nigam Ltd. to get an additional 1.51 lakh hectares of land under irrigation.

The Government had spent more than the allocation (Rs. 3,169 crores), but had brought only 68,214 hectares under irrigation.

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