'Those who have built it, should,,have a right over it'
You won the 1991 Lok Sabha elections with a thumping majority. This must have raised local expectations. What are your future plans?
While the barrage has solved the problem of water, other problems have emerged. The easy availability of water has encouraged sugarcane cultivation. Now we have too much sugarcane and not enough buyers. So the KTRS will now build a sugar complex. The sugar factory has already been cleared by the state government.
Now that you have adequate water, what plans do you have for ensuring the judicious use of water?
The problem of waterlogging has come up now. We still do not have any detailed plans to tackle this. We would like to regulate the use of water. We did have a rough cropping plan. Out of 12,150 ha of irrigated land, we had earmarked about 2,430 ha for horticulture, 4,050 ha for foodgrains and the rest for sugarcane and banana. But it was difficult to enforce this plan esmost farmers were eager to grow sugarcane. However, the glut in sugarcane has taught them a lesson. This year many of them have switched to oilseeds and other crops.
How can you now, as a minister, help encourage people's participation in projects like these?
After the successful execution of our project, the Karnataka government has officially recognised the merit of a people's initiative. In fact, a policy decision has already been taken that if any voluntary organisation comes forward with a proposal to make a barrage, 25 per, cent of the cost will be met by the government.
You had agreed that the barrage, once completed, would be handed over to the government. How do you feel about this now?
I think the condition is unfair. It is the property of the community and the community should manage it. I have named this barrage Sharara Bindu Sagara (a pool of sweat) and only those who have sweated over it should have a right over it.