Karnataka govt names ministers to head reservoir panels

By Live Mint

Jul 12, 2018

Bengaluru: The coalition government in Karnataka on Tuesday named ministers who would head advisory panels of the various reservoirs of the state formed to help coordinate release of water depending on availability and cropping patterns.

D.K. Shivkumar, the minister irrigation and medical education, said that senior Janata Dal (Secular) leaders such as C.S. Puttaraju, H.D. Revanna and SaRa Mahesh would head Krishna Raja Sagara, Hemavathi and Harangi panels, respectively, while Puttarangashetty, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Venkatrao Nadagouda will head the panels on the Kabini, Malaprabha & Ghataprabha and Tungabhadra dams.

These ministers would consult with farmers and other stakeholders and apprise the irrigation department about the needs of the people in this region.

The naming of heads for the panels comes at a time when Karnataka is witnessing copious rains after many years of droughts that had stunted agricultural growth and led to a drastic reduction in farmer incomes in recent years. The rain has filled reservoirs to record levels giving farmers hope of a return to normalcy.

“The ministers will call meetings with farmers and MLAs, and decide on water release after looking at the cropping pattern and water levels in the reservoirs,” Shivakumar said.

However, the constitution of a Cauvery Management Authority (CMA) does impose certain restrictions on utilisation of water by all stakeholder states.

Shivakumar said that Karnataka was expected to release 40 tmcft of Cauvery water by the end of July.

Farmer groups are hopeful that the recent ₹34,000 crore farm loan waiver (over four years) announced by chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, the issue of ‘debt-free certificates’ to help raise fresh credit and the copious rains would help them recover from the droughts that hit the state over the preceding four years.

Most parts of Karnataka have received good rains. The rains have also wreaked havoc in some parts of the state, including destruction of personal and public infrastructure as well as loss of human and animal lives.