India – Cauvery Dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

September 17, 2016



By Padmini Arhant

The Supreme Court decision directing the state of Karnataka to share water from Cauvery river with Tamil Nadu has unfortunately attracted unnecessary disturbance in two southern states in India.

The recent violence and protests led by Karnataka farmers and entertainment industry members in opposition to judicial verdict might be justified as the groups disappointment and anguish over their requirements not addressed in the process.

However, the violent means to express grievance on any issue often undermine the cause and lead to unrest. Karnataka farmers and those objecting to water distribution to Tamil Nadu should review the situation rationally rather than politically that creates more tension in the otherwise possible amicable solution.

Cauvery river originating in Karnataka flowing into Tamil Nadu is essentially following the natural system.  Interrupting the flow of any one or more rivers bound to disrupt functionality exacerbating problems at the source with overall impact.

Water scarcity is a common challenge in the absence of efficient mechanisms to compensate conditions varying from drought to contaminated ponds and wells posing serious health hazards in the community.

The recycling plant with effective treatment eliminating pollutants and carcinogens could serve in the reuse of water. The citizens efforts to avoid disposal of items and trash ending in reservoirs or water storage facilities could ease the burden on municipal corporations responsibility.

Clean drinking water is critical for survival with households in urban and rural areas facing acute water shortage due to lack of preparedness and planning to maintain steady water supply.

The rain water harvesting during monsoon or heavy rainy seasons is one of several methods to meet persistent deficiencies in water circulation for irrigational and general purpose.

Southern statesKarnataka and Tamil Nadu adeptness in technology and modern scientific techniques could benefit from public and private sector investments in refining desalination of water from ground wells and sea making the end product viable and safe for consumption.

The awareness and education on water conservation combined with proper utilization of excess water from wherever obtainable is the basic step to prevent routine difficulty.  The recycling concept could be adapted not barring waste removal and management for clean water provision.

The collective obligations from citizens and relevant authorities coming together in reaching mutual goal on water availability to all without disruption would alleviate widespread suffering from minimal water access.

As for agitations and destruction of others assets and taxpayers expended city property, the approach is counterproductive benefitting none. The rage and fury blinds the mind prohibiting reasoning faculty to guide and resolve matter.

Among all good deeds, sparing water to anyone is the genuine human spirit given the element importance in life existence. No amount of wealth and material donations could ever replace quenching thirst with water.

Accordingly denying water under any circumstances would be depriving others the opportunity to exist and the action is inhumane not to mention the worst sin in lifetime.

I end this topic with a parable.

There was a king claiming pride on his kingdoms and vast acquisitions in possession. Then unexpectedly a traveler appeared and requested to see the king to exchange views on his travel experience in the kingdom. The traveler is granted permission to visit the royal court.

Much to the traveler’s frustration, the royal protocol forbids him from speaking until spoken to while he desperately seeks a moment to ask for a glass of water.

When the traveler is allowed to speak, he begins with Could I please have some water for I am very thirsty?

He is served meager water and told to present his opinion on his trip to the kingdom.  

The traveler then resumes interaction.

Throughout my travel around your kingdom including my entry in the palace, I noticed the water fountains, waterfalls, lakes and ponds beautifying your premise and the city.  

At the same time, the custom to serve regular water to guests is apparently not a tradition and one can get it only at considerable cost to my surprise.

Plain and clean drinking water is ordinarily offered as a welcome gesture that is not prevalent in your kingdom.

The traveler said the practice further confirmed impoverishment despite fancy objects and monuments as the symbol of economic status for water is the treasure from nature to enable and enrich life. When any living being whether human or other species need water they cannot be satisfied with anything else except water.  

The king thought the traveler would have nothing but appreciations for the kingdom’s affluence and appearance. Then after the traveler’s candor realized the meaning of wealth and richness lies in simple and down to earth attributes like sharing life-saving water enhancing the beneficiary and benefactors’ well-being.

Water and air are natural endowments for life sustenance. The attempts barring flow of rivers and tributaries eventually merging to form the ocean is detrimental to ecological balance.

Any disagreements are best settled with understanding and respect for universal progress linked to interdependency.

Hope Cauvery is treated with deserving dignity as rivers freely flowing across the region contribute to lush environment and fertile land blessing life upon contact.

Peace to all!

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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