The inter-state dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the sharing of Cauvery water has not spared the fauna of the region.
In a major setback to the state, the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has declined to give water from its Moyar river passing through the Mudumalai National Park to quench the thirst of wild animals in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, which is reeling under severe drought. Mudumalai is a continuation of the Bandipur National Park and river Moyar divides the two states.
After some wildlife experts objected to supplying water from borewells to the tiger reserve, authorities thought of using the natural flowing water from the river, stream and reservoirs to quench the thirst of animals.
Sources in the Forest Department told Express that when the authorities of Bandipur Tiger Reserve approached the Field Director of Mudumalai National Park, around 10 km away from Bandipur, to get fresh water from Moyar river, he turned down the request saying that he cannot take a decision as both the states are embroiled in the Cauvery issue. “They had no objection to allow tankers once in a while. If 3-4 tankers supply water, it will be big a issue, so he did not agree,” sources added.
“We are getting water from Nugu and Kabini Reservoirs to certain ranges of the tiger reserve. For Bandipur, Gopalaswamy Hill and Kundagere Ranges, where the water holes have almost dried up, we thought of getting natural water from the nearest Moyar River,” an official said. Chief Wildlife Warden Deepak Sarmah discussed the matter with his TN counterpart a week ago but there has been no reply from across the border.
“The Cauvery row is becoming a burning issue between the two states. Matter should be discussed at the government-level taking into consideration the legal view and the present situation,” TN forest officials are said to have told their Karnataka counterparts. Therefore, we have decided to buy water from borewells by paying `200 a tanker to farmers. This apart, we have asked to drill one new borewell and rejuvenate three old borewells, added sources. Chief Wildlife Warden Deepak Sarmah did not disclose the reaction of the TN authorities.
Almost 90 per cent of the 282 water holes have dried up in Bandipur. Only two ranges of Bandipur- Kundagere and Kalkere, have received light rainfall and the remaining ranges have no water sources.