Whose Cauvery is it anyway?

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Rishi Agasthya would say she is his, Kannadigas claim their stake to her while the Tamilians wager on her at all costs! While Sage Agasthya had her confined as Lopamudra in a Kamandala, (pot used by hermits that has water in it) probably foreseeing the wrath, if she was let loose until Lord Ganesha came to the rescue of kannadigas by overturning the pot and all hell breaking loose for the ensuing centuries. Then came along the tamilians, though not necessarily in this order, fighting for a share of the pie, with the strong contention that about 44,000 square kilometres of the state is covered by this river’s basin!

As the states and all stakeholders battle it out, the apex court throws a spanner in their wheels and thus the logjam continues and the freewheeling citizens, with politicians as their patrons, become the show stoppers!

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The forlorn image of the lady with precious water trickling out of the pot would soon become a reality, thus bringing in its wake a final closure to this claim story. The river would soon become mythical like the Saraswati as a consequence of a deluge of reasons (and not rain!) inclined towards repeated failure of monsoons, the river being primarily rain fed, alarming rise in the population of Bengaluru with a surge of water connections from the Cauvery directly proportional to vote bank politics, the expanding villages, towns and cities along the river bank encroaching into the water bodies, a global climatic change caused by the rapid melting of the glaciers, excessive damming and diversion for irrigation and agriculture. Well, the very purpose of jumping on the bandwagon along with scores of others who are contributing their might indulging in the most debated topic in recent years, was not to reduce myself to the convention and be a part of the mockery that I have so vehemently and cynically opposed to, but to provide quick fix solution against the background of a teeming city growing by leaps and bounds and the daily consumption of water increasing manifold (cannot fathom how much that is!). A simple exercise on the numbers game is leaving me gasping – a typical street, with a measurement of a couple of kilometres in length and roughly with half a dozen cross roads, such as mine has an average of 30 apartments (if not more but for the sake of accommodating the astronomical figure of population rise in my brain, I peg it at that number) with an average number of flats of 100, which means a community of 3000 units and multiply it with about four members living in each and this works out to 1,20,000, add to this, the independent houses, maybe around 1000 with a total dwelling of 1,24,000 people applying the same logic (the hypothesis is that we are firmly following “We two, Ours two” population policy as envisaged by our administrators!) The number of such streets in Bengaluru is mind boggling with a road network of roughly 3000 kilometres and simply beyond me; all this mammoth growth happening in the last couple of years and each one of these houses getting the Cauvery water connection after waiting with open arms and mouths and gaping holes in wallets, caused by paying a hefty sum for the connection. What is the rationale and logic for this scale of water drawing from a dwindling water source and who is the jurisprudence for sanctioning without working out on the volume of output as against the trickling inputs!

Amidst the fury and frenzy, chaos and confusion, trials and tribulations (also read as tribunals), blaze and broil, let us set aside the proprietary rights and look at realistic solutions such as desalination of ocean water, linking of nearby abundant rivers that are in spate quite frequently and decongesting cities which need to be done on a war footing and outsmarting the time element!

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58 thoughts on “Whose Cauvery is it anyway?

  1. I used to stay in Bangalure during the mid 80’s till mid 90’s and even then Cauvery water issue was a major flash point. Often Bandhs would be called and our schools would be off.

    Its best interest of the nation as a whole that people from all states need to share and learn to share keeping in mind the needs to the people as a whole not. That is the only way people would stop fighting for water (my personal opinion).

    Liked by 1 person

    • The mid eighties and early nineties were also very volatile under Mr. Bangarappa’s regime..this problem has been there for the last fifty years or so..and we are yet to find a solution…pitiable state of affairs..now sharing is also not a choice as the river is bone dry!

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      • First of all, I love the way you write ma’am. It’s very classy (for me!). Thank you for raising this issue as it is continued from decades till today and further too. Nature has enough resources for the needy but not for the greedy. It goes well with both the states. What has happened with us, the Karnataka people is terrible and unjust. No one can deny that. The agitation that happened lately has damaged the image of Bengaluru which could have been actually controlled. The agenda of politicians and capitalists resulted in the catastrophe. Leaving all the problems aside, as many of you have suggested, the remedial measures should be the debate of the hour.

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      • Thanks so much Sachin and I feel truly honoured to read a comment from one of my students – I am motivated and enriched with your valuable thoughts and yes, absolutely the need of the hour are solutions and we have to bury the hoary past and let those be lessons not to be repeated in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Sachin..appreciate your thoughts and feel flattered to get a feedback of this stature about me, frankly I do not know whether I am eligible for your observations about me! Well, it actually pays to be grounded and pedagogy as I understand is a two way process that imparts knowledge for the teacher and the student. Personally, i feel that it should encompass the current affairs and a certain element of functional literacy apart from the curriculum for the all round growth of the individual. The present generation is immensely intellectual and endowed with technology aids and to meet the standards of you all is a Herculean task indeed. I am happy to be part of this elite class and my wishes for a great future to you and all the rest. God bless.

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    • Charity begins at home Indrani and using water judiciously will go a long way but the Government must look at long term solutions such as desalination which is being researched and tested in many places including TN

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  2. That’s quite an interesting review of the whole affair ..rather intimidating state of affairs between the 2 states for all wrong reasons! Immediate vote bank counts more than a practical and realistic outlook! Source and solutions go secondary in the bargain!

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  3. I would like to share my thoughts .. I’m not taking sides and I’m being neutral.
    Do you know Bangalore wastes almost 50℅ of the water it gets from Kaveri (Carvery) river. You can’t say political agenda always .. you would have known how many trees in Bangalore have been cut down and lakes been destroyed to facilitate real estate business, we just stood there watching when nature was being destroyed for the greed of man. As we know corporates have taken control of most of the resources.. it’s easy to blame the politicians and walk away as if we have no say in it . In this issue everyone in Karnataka and TamilNadu are to be held accountable for this .. everyone is responsible.

    The wolves rules because of the negligence of the Lions and ignorance of the sheep

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have hit the nail on its head…yes, there is colossal waste that happens..I understand broken pipes and unattended leakages account for 45% of the precious water and there is random and haphazard urbanization adding to the cup of woes!

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      • It is never too late for a start..and we are still fiddling as the states are burning, what is the problem in implementing a sucessfully researched endeavour on desalination?

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  4. Instead of playing the blame game and resorting to damage of lives and property, isn’t it more prudent for the government to resolve the issue by seeing what can be done to tackle the crisis at hand. It is high time they rise above the petty vote banks and work for the betterment of the nation. I truly feel Indians are not ready for democracy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even if the investment is high, it would have far reaching impact on all states with a coastline measuring 7500 kms surrounded by ocean and seas..
      Yes, evolution and adaptation need to be the keys for survival! Wish Darwin is reborn to give us theory of evolution part 2!

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  5. Sometime back there was something called as Kaveri Kutumba where farmers of both TN and Karnataka had come up with a agreeable equations in accordance with varying rains and seasons but the politicians of both states buried this initiative, decongesting the city can be done not by breaking existing homes but by stopping more inflow of corporates and businesses setting up in an overburdened Bengaluru. That is the only solution, but for people who keep saying Bengalureans waste water and stuff like that I can only laughably reiterate that I am a pucca local who grew up drinking kaveri but today I live in Bengaluru outskirts drinking only borewell water, use recycled water for flushing and gardening. What is intriguing is that all data about cauvery and all write ups on cauvery have largely been aided by people of Karnataka. THe arguments about other rivers in northern Karnataka not being used …..in the absence of river linking mechanisms one cannot change the course of water flows from north to south, having said that we are ill equipped and not completely ready to get into river linking methods considering the current pollution levels. The only solution is to get those farmers discussing the issue at hands and come out with solutions and kick out all other political stakeholders. I have been witnessing the Kaveri riots and bundhs since my college days, its been 20years ever since and my kids too witness the same…what does it tell……no political will…..no vision……..no real intent for anybody’s welfare…….only power, pockets and more deeper pockets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mayura for letting the readers aware of the initiative called Kaveri Kutumba..I am local too in every sense of the term having lived in Bengaluru for the last three decades, seeing the flip and flop side of the metamorphosis of a town into a city with all its progress and maladies. The banes have always been on the environment and ecology resulting in a drastic change of seasons. The monsoons in the recent past have been truant and sometimes very lopsided too. Over the years, agriculture has dwindled with no proper irrigation system, no canals. Yes, while I can partly agree with you on the hiccups to river linking such as high pollution levels, irregular elevation of the northern and southern peninsula, the high costs involved, the disturbance caused to habitat in particular the tigers, viability of project due to melting glaciers and so on but these hurdles could always be overcome to find a solution and AP state has done just that (maybe apart from Bundelkhand which may not have been hugely successful) and you can read about Krishna and Godavari linking in one of the news snippets here..
      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Krishna-meets-Godavari-in-first-river-linkage/articleshow/48992962.cms
      This is one part of the solution and the other would be undoubtedly that of desalination, as you can see in the success story of Israel http://www.wateronline.com/doc/desalination-a-major-success-for-israel-0001
      Pray, tell me what can the farmers in the affected states of India discuss and provide solutions and neither can the power behind the thrones. It is purely in the hands of engineers and scientists to find solutions and nothing is impossible my dear friend for a nation that can send a mission to Mars…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very well written Sunita! It’s a sad state of affairs isn’t it.. Every phone call home these days invariably contains this one question..”NaaLe Bandh-a?” Petty politics is again affecting civilians!
    The statistics are beyond shocking and I hope a practical solution is thought out soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s indeed sad seeing people fighting for water and they say we are united and independent! Politics is killing our nation. It’s really pathetic when we fight in the name of religion, food, water or boarders, despite staying in the same country.

    As usual a very well written post.

    Liked by 1 person

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