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Karunanidhi puts water project on hold

Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said he will "wait" for the new K'taka Govt, hoping it will abide by the 1998 agreement to implement the project.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Chennai
UPDATED ON APR 05, 2008 06:01 PM IST

Tamil Nadu on Saturday put on hold the Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project, ending a week- long standoff between the state and neighbouring Karnataka over the issue which had sparked violence in both the states.

In a statement, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said his government would "wait" till a popular government was installed in Karnataka after the May assembly polls and hoped that the new ministry would abide by the 1998 agreement to implement the water project.

"Let bygones be bygones. Let the future be bright. We will wait till President's rule in Karnakata comes to an end and an elected government assumes charge after the polls. Let us wait for a few days only. I hope that a popular government will understand our demand and abide by the 1998 agreement to implement the scheme," Karunanidhi said.

"If the situation continues even after the polls there, we will tell the world that Tamils, even at the cost of their lives, will not be people without self respect. We will wait till a popular government is in place there. I expect the co-operation of the new government for the scheme," he said.

The Rs 1,334 crore project, for which Karunanidhi laid the foundation stone in February, triggered off a political storm in Karnakata with pro-Kannada groups and political parties resorting to protests, objecting to its implementation.

The project envisages supply of Cauvery water to fluorosis affected Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu.

Karunanidhi's decision is seen as an apparent bid to help his ally Congress in Karnataka before the polls, as the scheme has snowballed into a major election issue there.

His statement was aimed at cooling down frayed tempers in both states, where agitating parties have sought the Centre's intervention for an amicable settlement.

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