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Maharashtra to share water with dry areas of Karnataka

Will release as much as 2 thousand millon cubic metres to southern neighbour, as states set aside long-drawn dispute over Belgaum

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Notwithstanding a long-drawn dispute over Belgaum issue, Maharashtra and Karnataka have unanimously agreed to share water for the people in the scarcity hit districts of both the states. Both the Congress led government in Maharashtra and BJP government in Karnataka have agreed to do so keeping aside politics over border issue.

Maharashtra government has agreed to release 2 thousand million cubic metres (TCM) of water from Dudhganga and Warna rivers to the border districts of Karnataka till the monsoon. In return, Karnataka would do necessary arrangement for the release of Almati backwater which can help overcome prevailing scarcity in Jat taluka of Sangli district in western Maharashtra. These decisions were taken at the meeting between the Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and a delegation of Karnataka ministers comprising agriculture minister Umesh Katti and industries minister Murugesh Nirani.

A senior minister, who did not want to be identified, told Business Standard " We are aware that political parties in Maharashtra and Marathi speaking people from Belgaum have strong views against Karnataka government's alleged coercive policies. However, both  agreed to come the rescue of people from both the states affected due to scarticity. Maharashtra government, which has launched relief and rehabilitation works in nine scarcity affected districts of the state, has agreed to release 2 TMC of water to Karnataka. Simultaneously, the state government called upon the visiting Karnataka ministers to release Almati backwater to Jat taluka of Sangli district. It has been accepted by the Karnataka delegation."

Nirani confirmed the Maharashtra government's decision to release 2 TMC water to Karnataka. He said the water would be used for drinking water purpose.

Meanwhile, the state government's decision has not been published through publicity department or from the chief minister's office to avoid angry reactions from pro-Belgaum lobby both in the state and in Karnataka. The decision also comes at a time when in a rare gesture both the houses of Maharashtra Legislature were adjounred on Thursday to express solidarity to the Marathi speaking people in Balgaum and also for an early resolution of Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute. Members of both the houses met the delegation of pro Belgaum delegates who had sat on hunger strike at the historic Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.

First Published: Fri, April 13 2012. 12:53 IST