Kerala seeks control over five dams!

Supreme Court directs the raising of the height of Narmada Dam!

Yes, the inter-state waters disputes are no more news. They make news whenever the state politicians have no other purposeful jobs on hand!  So, comes the news of persisting inter-state rivers disputes, from one state or other. Now, the latest is the news coming from the new Government in Kerala under the veteran V.S.Achuthanandan. He made his reputation as a hardliner inside the party and now in power it is for him to show his mettle.

The minister said that five dams located in the Kerala side of the Western Ghats are at present under the administrative control of Tamil Nadu, as it was also drawing water from these dams.  The adminstrative control over the associated dams located in Tamil Nadu is also with that State. There have been persistent complaints that Kerala is not getting its due share of water from these five dams due to lack of a propr monitoring system.

The inter-state rivers disputes between Kerala and its neighbour is no dispute at all. The states have shared the river waters from Kerala for long. If at all, there is more mutual understanding and less an opened dispute than that exists over Cauvery waters.

The point is that to raise the inter-state river waters as a dispute is to divert the attention and energies of the governments and the people. The inter-state river waters disputes are there every where, in every nation of the world.
The African countries have the Nile waters disputes for long. In the Middle East, we have the Israeli-Jordan-Palestine territories sharing waters of common rivers.

The Nile Dam was a major international achievement, the Nasser Government nationalised the Suez Canal and late Soviet Union funded the Egyptian government. Nile Dam is the world’s largest dam with 180 water gates,12 power generating units,2.1 million kilowatts of electric power generating capacity.

There is a Council of Ministers of Water Affairs of the Nile Basin States (COM) to promote cooperation and development in the basin. Six of the riparian countries-Congo, Egypt, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda-formed a new technical committee now to oversee the  maximum utilisation of the river water and to protect the environment if Nile Basin. The point is that there are disputes; no doubt, Egypt feels the Ethiopia’s withdrawal of the Nile waters for irrigation affects the tributaries supplying 80 per cent of the Nile water entering Egypt.

There is much to learn from the US experience. It is a pioneer in harnessing the giant rivers; The American Heritage Rivers Initiative is a lesson good for TN and Karnataka as well as Kerala. There is a need to take some major initiatives, to conserve and revitalize the rivers that flow through the three States. As the then President Clinton said on the occasion when he announced the American heritage Rivers, on July 1997:”Who are we, such brief visitors on this Earth, to spoil rivers and other treasures hat were here so long before we arrived? We must work together, as this community has done for generations, to preserve all these sacred gifts for all time”

What wonderful words?

Let us hope the CPI (M) in its new found enthusiasm to do something, to be seen it has been doing something, should not spoil the already existing long years of goodwill between the two States by opening any new wounds.

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