Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Tuesday expressed concern over the river link projects announced in the Union budget, saying they would lead to drinking water shortages in Karnataka.
Taking part in the general budget discussion, the veteran leader of JD(S) said Bangalore city is already experiencing lack of potable water and is using water from the irrigation allocation which has been given in Karnataka by the Supreme Court.
In her budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that the DPR projects of five river links – namely Damanganga-Pinjal, Par-TapiNarmada, Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Cauvery – had been finalized .
Read | “Karnataka will not compromise in river link projects”
Once consensus is reached among recipient states, the Center will support implementation, she said.
“Karnataka is one of the states that is going to suffer very badly even for drinking water. This will be the major issue when the current budget shows the linking of rivers,” said Deve Gowda.
He sought clarification and details from the Center on the Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Cauvery Linkage Projects, which have been proposed.
Citing the Krishna-Pennar project, he claimed that “nothing has been said about Karnataka’s share” but Tamil Nadu will get close to 130 TMC.
He asked the Center to intervene in the matter to improve Karnataka’s share.
Claiming that the problem is with drinking water, the former prime minister said the Supreme Court awarded 4.7 TMC for drinking water consumption in the city of Bengaluru.
However, he said that when the population of the city of Bangalore was calculated in 2011, it was 85 lakh, but “today the population of Bangalore is 130 lakh”.
“We are using 50 TMC today on the irrigation allocation. You cannot have anything in 4.75 TMC for 130 lakh people,” he claimed.
Deve Gowda said the Supreme Court awarded 284 TMC to Karnataka and 400 TMC to Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery water dispute.
He alleged that “the idea of allocating drinking water to a third of the city of Bangalore” was not taken because “it is not within the purview of the catchment area”.
Accusing the Center of “mistreating” Karnataka, he said: “We are like orphans”.
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