THANJAVUR/TIRUVARUR : OVER 6,000 farmers and cadre of several political parties were arrested in 116 locations across Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts on Friday when they tried to stage road blockades demanding the release of Cauvery water for taking up Samba cultivation.
The protestors urged the Union government to immediately constitute Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauver Water Regulation Committee to implement the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT).
Called by farmers and farm workers associations affiliated to Left parties, the protest was supported by the CPI, CPM, MDMK, VCK and TMC. With the DMK extending support, the protest evoked good response.
In Thanjavur, farmers and party cadre blocked the road in front of the old bus stand. V Duraimanickam and Mohammed Ali, State general secretary and State vice-president of farmers’ associations affiliated to the CPI and CPM, respectively, led the protest. S S Palanimanickam of DMK, G Udhayakumar of MDMK also took part in the agitation.
Addressing the gathering, Duraimanickam said delta farmers had lost Kuruvai crop for the fifth consecutive year. “Now they are set to lose Samba crop also. Due to the intransigent attitude of Karnataka government, which has not released Cauvery water due to Tamil Nadu, the delta is turning into a desert,” he added.
The Union government should intervene and direct the Karnataka government to release water to raise at least a single Samba crop, he added.
Mohammed Ali said the State and Centre should exert pressure on Karnataka to release 94 TMC of water due for the months of June, July and August as per the tribunal award.
A section of protesters burnt the effigy of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Police, later, arrested over 109 members of various associations. Similar protests were held in Kumbakonam, Pattukkottai, Papanasam, Peravurani and 2,900 members were arrested.
In Tiruvarur, more than 4,000 cadre participated in the protest organised in 53 places, and around 3,100 persons were taken into custody. In Tiruvarur bus stand, the protestors blocked buses. K Balakrishnan, former MLA and State president of Tamil Nadu farmers association (CPM); Gunasekaran, State president of farmers association (CPI); and Poondi Kalaivanan, district secretary of DMK participated in the blockade. They also raised slogans demanding immediate release of water by Karnataka for irrigation in Cauvery delta districts. Large number of farmers and activists participated in protests held in places, including Tiruthuraipoondi, Mannargudi, Needamangalam.