River Water Dispute Be Like Gujarat and Maharashtra


There is a ray of hope now that 120 year old Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka would come to a stop. In a ruling the Supreme Court of India last Friday has reduced the share of water for Tamil Nadu. All parties in the dispute should accept the verdict since the Supreme Court has delivered the judgment after due considerations of all aspects. The honourable judge heard the arguments from both the sides and only after weighing the pros and cons for justice the verdict was pronounced. There should not be any dispute now over the judgment.

Unfortunately, in our country disputes over river water share and some other issues are still there between two or more states. Last year the dispute over Cauvery water in the IT hub of Bengaluru spilled over to streets. Protests by people of Tamil Nadu living in Bengaluru resulted in violence and scuffle. Tamilians homes and offices were attacked by the locals. It is a serious matter. India is one and will remain one. Irrespective of where we are born and where we work and live, we are all Indians. Why any discrimination against any class of people then?

If you move out of Cauvery dispute, in Northern India, Haryana and Punjab are at loggerhead over share of Sutlej Yamuna canal water. Till 1966 Haryana was part of Punjab. I wonder why this water dispute is there and when it will end.

Mahanadi Water Share

Chhattisgarh and Odisha are fighting over share of water of river Mahanadi. The situation is getting from bad to worse. Every other day there are protests and bandh calls by political parties in Odisha. The situation is not different in Chhattisgarh either where people come out in protest against Odisha over water share. Odisha Government has lodged protest over construction of water reservoir in Raigarh district. The Arpa-Bhaisajhar reservoir project will benefit the people of the region. Chhattisgarh Government says that the project will hold backwater of Mahanadi which ultimately flows down to Odisha and ends up in the sea. Fortunately, the dispute over Mahanadi has not taken ugly turn so far. There has been no violence over the dispute either in Odisha or in Chhattisgarh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should intervene to resolve the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

Belgaum Dispute

There is border dispute of Belgaum between Maharashtra and Karnataka since 1956. Belgaum has majority of people who are Marathi speaking. For this reason, Maharashtra has been demanding that Belgaum should be in Maharashtra. Sometime back the protesting Marathi speaking people of Belgaum were lathi charged by the police which was condemned by political parties in Maharashtra. The political parties in Maharashtra are asking for merger of Belgaum in the state otherwise the Centre should declare Belgaum a Union Territory. Belgaum is currently in Karnataka. Though Maharashtra and Karnataka were ruled by the Congress for long years, the border dispute between the two states was not resolved.

No Communication

Within months of appearing on the map of India as a separate state, Telangana began confronting Andhra Pradesh which was its parent state. At times chief ministers of the two States seem to forget even minimum courtesy when they meet by not exchanging pleasantries or greeting each other. It is common to have differences and disputes among leaders and political parties. It should not mean that such strained relationship should turn into animosity. The way Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Chandrashekhar Rao, Chief Minister of Telangana behave, it cuts a sorry figure. It would have been better had the two states after the division would have taken to path of progress. It would have contributed to the nation building. But the two Chief Ministers are in confrontation mode and appear to be enemy of each other. They are not on talking terms. The two chief ministers even avoid facing each other in public.

The strained relations between the two chief ministers have created problems for the people of the two states, so much so that Andhra people feel uncomfortable living in Telangana and vice versa.

While on one hand the Hindi speaking population of North India is at the point of gun in the North East, people from North Eastern States are subjected to harassment and assault by some unruly elements in the North India. It is high time that all political parties should work for harmony and brotherhood amongst people of all States and Union Territories and spread the message of nationhood. We are all Indians.

Those States at the logger heads should take lesson from Maharashtra and Gujarat that came on the map of India in 1960 as two states. People of Gujarat and Maharashtra live in an atmosphere of harmony and brotherhood. There are several instances where a Gujarati businessman had a Marathi as his manager. Gujaratis are dominant businessmen having larger share of trade in metals, cereals, textiles and paper. You can’t even think of Bombay Stock Exchange without Gujaratis. People of the two states participate in all festivals as one social group. I say again, be like Gujarat and Maharashtra.

R K Sinha

(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)