New Delhi: A delegation of opposition parties in Tamil Nadu on Friday met President Pranab Mukherjee and sought his intervention in the setting up of Cauvery Management Board, a demand Karnataka is opposed to.
The leaders belonging to these parties later lashed out at the "defiant" attitude of Karnataka in complying with the apex court orders over release of waters from Cauvery and alleged they are making the rice bowl of Tamil Nadu into a "begging bowl".
A delegation of People's Welfare Front (PWF) leaders, headed by CPI national secretary and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja, submitted a memorandum to the President containing their demands.
"Cauvery does not belong to any particular state. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are riparian states and they have same rights over the river. We requested the President to safeguard the rights of Tamil Nadu and to speed up the Constitution of Cauvery Management Board," Raja told reporters outside the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
MDMK leader Vaiko, who was part of the delegation, said that the alleged denial of water has resulted in a loss of Rs 8,000 crore to Tamil Nadu this year.
"Karnataka's denial of water, which was legitimately alloted to us, has resulted in a total loss of Rs 8,000 crore to the state this year. We fear that our rice bowl is becoming a begging bowl due to this," he said.
"The Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal's final verdict came in 2007 and the state of Karnataka remains defiant even after the apex court had ordered to release of water for us," Vaiko added.
The PWF leaders criticised Karnataka also over its plans of constructing two dams on the river, expressing apprehensions that it will result in a drought-like situation in 16 districts of Tamil Nadu including its capital Chennai.
"We requested the President to consider our concerns regarding these issues to which he assured to take necessary steps." Vaiko said.
When asked about the Front's silence over the issue for the past two years even after the publication of award in the Central government Gazette, Vaiko said the Front had not taken up the issue in the way it has now as the previous UPA government had not ruled out the formation of the Board.
"But now, it's the Modi government which is saying that it won't constitute the Board. They are denying us justice, therefore prompting us to raise the issue now," Vaiko added.
Besides Raja and Vaiko, the delegation comprised state leaders of various other political parties including CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan, CPI state secretary R Mutharasan, VCK president Thol.
Thirumavalavan and its secretary D Ravikumar, along with CPI leader T K Rangarajan.