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  • Baalu urges PM to advice Karnataka not to oppose Hogenakkal project

    New Delhi (PTI): Amidst the standoff over the Hogenakkal issue, Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu on wednesday called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to advice the Karnataka government not to oppose the water project.

    Baalu also presented a copy of the resolution adopted unanimously by the Tamil Nadu assembly yesterday to the Prime Minister and apprised him of the facts relating to the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project.

    Earlier in the day, former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna met Singh and said the Centre should "exert" its influence on Tamil Nadu to put on hold the project.

    Baalu told Singh that the Centre had given all necessary clearances to the state to implement the project way back in 1998, after convening a meeting of both the states on the issue.

    The Tamil Nadu government had also obtained necessary clearances from the Union Ministries of Environment and Forests, Urban Affairs and Rural Development, Balu said, adding the Karnataka government was kept informed about these issues.

    The Minister also told the Prime Minister that the early implementation of the 1,334-crore Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) funded water project is "imperative" as it would provide drinking water to two drought hit districts of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri.

    Later speaking to reporters, Baalu said the NDA government gave its nod for the project in 1998 and the then Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel wrote to the Centre that Tamil Nadu should not have any objection to the Bangalore Water Supply Scheme as long as it was utilising the Cauvery water from its alloted share.

    Obstructing a drinking water project was "highly deplorable" and some "vested interests" in Karnataka are opposing it for petty political gains which they are not likely to get in any case as the "right thinking" people in that state would understand their game plan, he said.

    On reported remarks of S M Krishna that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had used "harsh words" against the people of Karnataka, Baalu said the DMK chief is widely acknowledged as an "elderly statesman of this country".

    The Tamil Nadu Assembly had yesterday passed a resolution condemning violence in Karnataka, where pro-Kannada groups opposed to the Hogenakkal Integrated Water Project, attacked theatres screening Tamil movies, and urged the Centre to immediately intervene to "maintain the sovereignty and integrity of the nation".

    The standoff between the two southern states had sparked violence against Tamils in Bangalore and on Monday a theatre screening Tamil movie and Tamil Sangham were attacked allegedly by pro-Karnataka outfits.

    They also announced yesterday that they would not allow Tamil movies to be screened in the state and also asked the cable TV operators to take the Tamil satellite channels off the air.


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