Chennai: Tamil Nadu’s principal opposition AIADMK on Sunday slammed Karnataka government for opposing the second phase of the Hogenakkal Drinking Water Project, saying the neighbouring state has no moral or legal right to challenge it. The main opposition party also took credit for implementing the Hogenakkal project (first phase) in Tamil Nadu. The scheme was launched in 2008 during the DMK regime when late M Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister.
Top party leader O Panneerselvam said the Hogenakkal Combined Drinking Water Project, a long time dream of the people of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu, was fulfilled by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Tamil Nadu is a lower riparian state, the AIADMK leader pointed out, apparently indicating that the state was dependent on water supply by upstream state, Karnataka. The Karnataka government, which has the habit of releasing only ‘surplus water’ after all its dams were filled, does not have a right ‘morally and legally’ to oppose Tamil Nadu’s Hogenakkal project’s second phase, Panneerselvam said in a statement. The project area falls under Tamil Nadu, he said.
”Tamil Nadu has all the rights to implement this project. This (DMK) government should implement it. The AIADMK will extend its full support (to the government) for the project implementation,” he said. Tracing the ‘origin’ of the project, he said that for the first time, a Detailed Project Report was prepared in 1986 when AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran was the Chief Minister, to implement the project at a cost of Rs 120 crore.
Despite initiatives to implement it in 1994 at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore during the first stint (1991-96) of late party supremo J Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister, it could not be done in view of inadequate external financial support, Panneerselvam, deputy leader of opposition in the Assembly said. During her second term in office (2001-06), a proposal was sent to the Centre on August 18, 2005 to implement the project with Rs 1,005 crore assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Based on this, the assistance was secured by the state government and foundation stone was laid for the project in 2008, he said. Karnataka had opposed it even then and the AIADMK had held a ‘massive protest’ to condemn the opposition of the neighbouring state. When the AIADMK captured power in 2011, a mere 18 per cent of project work was found completed after 3 years of its launch, Panneerselvam claimed. Since the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa speeded up project work, the remaining 82 per cent work was completed and the Hogenakkal project’s first phase was dedicated to people by her on May 29, 2013, he said.
Panneerselvam emphasised that it was the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK regime that was fully instrumental in implementing the Hogenakkal project’s first phase.
Hogenakkal, located in the western Dharmapuri District of Tamil Nadu is close to the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka inter-state border.