PM and I will never let down any state in water disputes: Union Minister Somanna

“I am alone... not a great man (to take unilateral decisions). All parties will sit together and resolve the issues. There are laws to deal with the disputes,” he said.
Union Minister of State V Somanna seeks blessings from Sri Siddalinga Swamiji of Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru on Friday
Union Minister of State V Somanna seeks blessings from Sri Siddalinga Swamiji of Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru on Friday

TUMAKURU: Union Minister of State for Railways and Jal Shakti, V Somanna, said on Friday that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will never let down any state in inter-state river disputes and other issues.

Somanna was responding to apprehensions raised by a few in Tamil Nadu who had claimed that his appointment was an injustice to the state as inter-state water disputes remain between the two southern states.

Somanna, who hails from Karnataka, represents Tumakuru in the Lok Sabha.

Tamil Nadu Congress Committee had even passed a resolution against Somanna being made the Jal Shakti minister and farmers’ associations there had condemned his appointment as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had several water disputes between them. 

“In the federal system, we are all one family, whether it is Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry, or Kerala... There is nothing wrong with Tamil Nadu advocating for rights. But we should all live equally. The population of the country has increased, and the PM has a vision for the country and will not allow injustice to be meted out to any state,” Somanna told The New Indian Express.

“I am alone... not a great man (to take unilateral decisions). All parties will sit together and resolve the issues. There are laws to deal with the disputes,” he said.

Somanna, who had worked as a minister in the Janata Dal government in Karnataka between 1994 and 1999, recalled that when J Jayalalithaa was the CM of Tamil Nadu, the then Karnataka CM JH Patel and former PM HD Deve Gowda would negotiate with her over inter-state disputes.

During his maiden visit after becoming the Union Minister, Somanna went on a temple run by visiting over 10 religious institutions, including the Siddaganga Mutt. 

‘Protocol violation’: Somanna takes DC, ZP CEO to task 

Somanna took Tumakuru Deputy Commissioner Subha Kalyan and Zilla Panchayat CEO Prabhu G to task as they were not present with him during his visit to the district general hospital. The minister was in the hospital to meet the victims of the Chinnenahalli drinking water contamination incident. He turned red as no district officers, including DHO Dr Manjunath, were present. He called the DC and CEO over the phone and took them to task for violating official protocol.

The officials, however, maintained that they were in Koratagere to take part in a programme in which District Minister Dr G Parameshwara was present. They further said that they had visited Chinnenahalli.

Not ready to accept the excuses, Somanna asserted that he too was a minister and the protocol should have been followed.

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