Around 3pm on Friday, Prakash Gowda, a farmer in Doddamalagoda village near Mandya town, was busy supervising the release of Cauvery water into his 1.5-acre paddy farm. All round him, farmers were doing the same — checking the water channels into their fields.
With Karnataka releasing Cauvery water to both Tamil Nadu and the Cauvery delta farmers in Mysore and Mandya regions, the water, released on Thursday from KRS dam some 50 km away, reached the farms in Doddamalagoda Friday afternoon.
“I was taking part in a protest over release of water to Tamil Nadu when I heard KRS water had reached our farms. I reached here immediately…the crop has sprouted and it now needs ample water,” said a beaming Prakash Gowda.
Barely 10 km away, the water channels from the Cauvery are all dry and farmers are fuming in villages such as Hitnahalli in Malavalli taluk of Mandya.
“It takes about three days for water to reach our village. We left our land fallow this year because we had learnt there could be a shortage of water. And it is too late now (for cultivation)…we have to look at other sources of income,” said Nanjunde Gowda.
At Mikere village near Mandya, Rudrappa, 52, standing guard at his 2-acre paddy field filled with water, said, “After releasing water to Tamil Nadu they (government) are now saying they will give water to locals farmers. Had they said this earlier, more farmers would have cultivated their land this monsoon season.”
CM writes to PM
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday and sought his intervention. He asked Modi to convene a meeting of the chief ministers of the two states to resolve a dispute over sharing Cauvery water, which has come to a boil on account of water shortage in the river’s catchment areas due to deficit rains.
Siddaramaiah wrote that the dispute, if allowed to simmer, could hurt Karnataka’s economy, especially the IT economy.