The negotiators

  • 30/10/2003

The negotiators There exist, in India today, at least two ways of resolving water-related conflicts. One is the way the conflict over river Cauvery is being managed. The river of woes for Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha and her Karnataka counterpart S M Krishna, not a single day has passed in the last six months when both haven't worried over their rights. For the states, it is an intense three-decade old battle. The problem is as natural as the flow of the river: Tamil Nadu, downstream of the river, wants water use regulated in upstream Karnataka. Karnataka, in turn, refuses to do so, citing its primacy as the upstream user. The conflict is so overpowering that the prime minister has already called six meetings in the last six months. "Can we solve it anyway?' he asked in a meeting in August. (Good question, for at any point of time, as an official in the water resources ministry informs, about 300 government officials are managing the conflict.) Replied an official present in the meeting: "We can't reposition the states in rotation from upstream to downstream.'

The other way

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