The ruling AIADMK launched a day-long hunger strike on Tuesday over the Centre’s delay in implementing the Supreme Court’s order to constitute a Cauvery water management board. District functionaries of AIADMK lead the hunger strike, with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and deputy CM O Panneerselvam joining them.
Meanwhile, in light of the prevailing tension in the state, Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit left for Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the cauvery issue. The development comes after the apex court set April 9 as the date to hear the Tamil Nadu government’s petition seeking contempt action against the Centre. The Centre has approached the court, seeking a three-month extension to implement the February 16 order.
Moreover, over 21 lakh shops will remain shut today in the state after a bandh call by trade unions AITUC, CITU, LPF and INTUC. TTV Dinakaran, who floated an outfit called Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam last month, will lead a farmers’ march on the Cauvery issue till Trichy airport. “Not less than 5,000 farmers will participate in the march,” an aide of Dinakaran said.
With the DMK and its allies calling for a shutdown over the issue in Chennai and Coimbatore on April 5, the protests over Cauvery may take epic proportions, similar to what Tamil Nadu witnessed last year during jallikattu and farmer suicide agitations. DMK working president MK Stalin has already made his plans clear on fighting for the Cauvery water board till its constitution. “We will show black flags to PM and Union Minister when they visit the state. Will also take out Cauvery rights retrieval walk from the delta area,” Stalin said at a press conference on Sunday.
The Centre, on its part, has cited the Karnataka elections and said that Cauvery being an “emotive” issue in the state, any move at this point to constitute a scheme under Section 6A of the Inter State River Water Disputes Act 1936 and notify it might “vitiate election process and cause serious law and order problems”.
In its judgment on February 16, the Supreme Court had raised the Cauvery water share of Karnataka by 14.75 tmcft and reduced Tamil Nadu’s quota. The court had compensated Tamil Nadu by allowing extraction of 10 tmcft groundwater from the Cauvery basin.