Tamil Nadu has been on boil for sometime as a host of issues, mostly related to development projects, have forced people to come to streets. As if that is not enough, Cauvery Management Board (CMB) issue has come to haunt the State. Almost all the parties in Tamil Nadu, except the ruling AIADMK and BJP, are staging protests on CMB issue. The protesters accuse that both the Central and State governments have failed to constitute CMB as directed in the final verdict by the apex court in the Cauvery water dispute case. The Supreme Court’s six week deadline ended last week and the Centre seems to be in no hurry to constitute CMB.
Image Credit: Vikatan
CMB will be an independent body that will monitor water levels in dams and make sure Tamil Nadu and Karnataka got their legitimate share on a monthly basis. Once the reins come into CMB’s hold Karnataka will be the sufferer as the State would have to manage with lesser amount of Cauvery water. With the Assembly elections round the corner in Karnataka, the BJP has a point in shelving the constitution of CMB. BJP’s plan of returning to power in the State will be jeopardised if CMB is there. In this matter, the ruling party in the Centre would rather go against Tamil Nadu’s interests where its stakes in elections are not worth mentioning. So, CMB will not be a reality until the Karnataka elections are over.
Tamil Nadu has all the reasons to complain since without Cauvery water agriculture in the State’s delta area will be put in danger. The protest demanding CMB in Tamil Nadu is widespread. The main opposition DMK began its protests on day one itself and is still into agitations on a day to day basis, the rest of opposition parties have also joined DMK. The ruling AIADMK, considered to be soft-pedalling the Centre, too observed a daylong fast demanding CMB with the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister leading the protest. On Thursday the DMK called for a State-wide bandh and itturned out to be a success with people voluntarily joining it. Meanwhile, the hashtag ‘IndiaBetraysTamilNadu’ was trending as netizens took to social media to highlight issues involving Tamil Nadu in which the Centre hasn’t done justice to the State’s causes.
It is not only CMD, Sterlite copper smelter in Tuticorin, Hydrocarbon project in Neduvasal, Methane project in Tanjore delta, Enayam harbour project in Kanyakumari and Neutrino Observatory project in Theni district also are facing objection from people. The local people are up in arms over these issues and the protests are growing intense by the day. These projects are feared to be causing grave environmental damage and deprivation of livelihood. Incidentally, some of the projects were rejected or forced to vacate from by other States. It is the responsibility of the State and Central governments to allay people’s fear as unfounded or withdraw these projects if the concerns raised are found to be valid. It is time they heeded to genuine voices of protest and restored people’s trust in governments.