If any of you had read my profile on the Mutiny, you would have noticed that one of the reasons why I’m absent from the blog at times is because I’m busy stopping Tamil Nadu from stealing Kerala’s water. That’s a joke.
Unfortunately things have taken a turn for the worse. The kind of voices we are hearing from Thrivanathapuram and Chennai is close to what sides itching for a battle would do. The one thing this entire episode is not about is water. Never has Kerala said it would not give water to Tamil Nadu. I don’t think any Malayalee would be able to sleep at night know what we are knowingly denying Tamils water.
The issue is safety. The dam is over a hundred years old. It if breaks, the lives of 3.5 million people in Kerala is at risk. The attitude shown by some in Tamil Nadu towards this concern is worrying. They have blocked roads into Kerala and asked the centre to take over the dam. Tamils have to understand, that if they play the community card and paint Malayalees as villains for short-term gains, it will have a very negative impact on our future relations.
The Mullaperiyar dam was built as a goodwill gesture, for 18 years Tamil Nadu government has not paid for the water. Kerala has continued to supply water inspite of this. The government in Chennai needs to ask itself what it would achieve by creating this kind of a situation.
For every argument raised by Tamil Nadu in support of its claims, there is counter-argument in Kerala that appears equally plausible. Yet, each time the controversy gets embroiled in extraneous issues, two things stand out: One is Kerala’s refusal to ack nowledge the genuine need of the farmers in the otherwise drought-prone regions of Tamil Nadu for the waters of the Mullaperiyar; the other is Tamil Nadu’s refusal to see that it cannot rely on or continue to expect more and more from the resources of an other State to satisfy its own requirements to the detriment of the other State. A solution perhaps lies in acknowledging the two truths, but neither government can afford the political repercussions of such a confession.