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Karnataka ready to tap Kabini storage for crops

Our Bureau

Farmers in eight districts in the Kabini catchment area have been protesting against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. They have threatened to go on a `jail bharo' agitation. Through traffic between Bangalore - Mysore was disrupted near Mandya as agitators blocked roads.

BANGALORE, Sept. 17

THE Karnataka Government has assured the agitating farmers in the Kabini catchment area that it will do its utmost to save the standing crops in the region.

"We have decided to tap the dead storage in the Kabini reservoir if we run out of water," said Mr Kagodu Thimmappa, Minister for Information and Health, said today while briefing newspersons after a Cabinet meeting.

The Kabini reservoir has 14.8 tmc, of which 5 tmc is dead storage (below the sluice level). The release of water to Tamil Nadu is continuing in accordance to the Tribunal judgement. The current quantity of water is expected to last till October 3, after which the dead storage will be pumped out.

The State has begun to make preparations for this. Foundation work has already started and an11,000 HP pump running on diesel will be used. The entire pumping operation is expected to cost Rs 5-6 crore. Reacting to doubts about whether it was advisable to pump out dead storage water, he said "There is no scientific reason not to use water below the sluice level".

"Our biggest responsibility now is to save the crops," he said and appealed to the farmers to stop their agitation.

Farmers in eight districts in the Kabini catchment area have been protesting against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. They have threatened to go on a `jail bharo' agitation. Through traffic between Bangalore - Mysore was disrupted near Mandya as agitators blocked roads.

Water in the reservoir was rising and 5,027 cusecs of water were coming in, Mr Thimmappa said. In case there is good rain, it may not be necessary to pump out water.

On the Veerappan issue, Mr Thimmappa said the Government had worked out "strategies" to secure Mr Nagappa's release. While refusing to detail the action proposed, he said that the public should realise that the Government was making the same kind of efforts in Mr Nagappa's case as it had done two years ago when Veerappan had kidnapped cine star, Rajkumar. "The situation now is different from then," he said. At that time, it was the Karunanidhi Government in power in Tamil Nadu and there were emissaries willing to talk to Veerappan and those people were currently lodged in jail.

He also pointed out that the State was yet to get the promised 1.25-lakh million tonne of food grains for drought relief from the Centre.

This is despite Karnataka providing the proof that the 1.77-lakh million tonne foodgrains released earlier under the Swarna Jayanti Rojgar Yojana (SJR) food-for-work programme had been utilised.

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