TIRUCHY: Relieved that Supreme Court came up with a solution for the decades-old contentious water sharing issue with Karnataka, farmers in the Delta districts on Thursday felt let down by the Union government as the deadline set by the apex court expired.
With no Cauvery Management Board in place, people in the Delta districts were aghast at the way New Delhi has treated them. The anger of farmers was evident across villages situated on the banks of Cauvery as non-formation of the Board makes their future difficult as before. Agricultural fields and tea stalls around the Grand Anicut were abuzz with the talks over the central government’s non-compliance to the Supreme Court’s direction and what was in store.
Given its historic importance, the Cauvery is not just linked to the economy of the State but also has direct bearing on the cultural heritage of Tamil people. V Kannan, vice-president of Cauvery Delta Farm Producers Welfare Association, said “The uncertainty over cultivation would drive younger generation away from agriculture. Ultimately, it would affect the farming community, both in terms of economics and culture. All fine art forms of Tamil people originated and thrived on the banks of Cauvery. In fact, most of the well-known temples are situated along Cauvery. From time immemorial, Cauvery is intertwined with the lives of Tamil people as the river finds a mention in Tamil literature, history and culture. If Cauvery remains dry, everything would diminish in Tamil land. The consequences would be unimaginable.”
Kannan added, “Already farmers are reeling under various problems caused by climate change, including depleting groundwater, drought and heavy rains in short period, all affect the agriculture. So, the Union government should take concrete steps and help protecting the interests of Tamil Nadu farmers.”
Krishnamurthy, a farmer from Uthamarseeli near Grand Anicut, said, “If agriculture fails, landless labourers would move to urban areas in search of jobs. Most of them have already switched to construction sector. But farmers may not be able to migrate to cities easily leaving the lands. As agriculture has become a struggle for us, I am sure that the next generation will not be interested in taking up farming. Hence, unemployment problem will be severe.”
A Mathivanan, a farmer from Seyyamangalam, said “The Prime Minister is not even ready to meet our chief minister, which is an insult to the State, leave alone the fact that the Board is not constituted yet. Farmers’ lives should not be tied to the electoral compulsions of the political parties. If the central government acts thus keeping the Karnataka elections in mind, it would definitely generate anger among Tamil Nadu farmers.”
Linked to culture
Given its historic importance, the Cauvery is not just linked to the economy of the State but also has direct bearing on the cultural heritage of Tamil people.