Lessons for the Kaveri from Ozzy Osbourne

ARUN PADAKI writes: The Supreme Court judgment has come. As I repeatedly keep listening to the song Dreamer from Ozzy Osbourne, I slip into a trance. But suddenly I realize that there is something and everything from this song that applies to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the present day.

All seems fine as of now as the reservoir at Krishna Raja Sagar presents a spectacular view with gushing waters. The Supreme Court order though a shade better than the interim one brings no cheer as Karnataka’s claim and clamor has found no takers.

Let us keep the Courts, the protestors, the farmers, the cities, the industries and the dirty politics apart for a while. Let politicians of both states sit together and ponder over the past century that has led to bickering with many lives lost and properties destroyed.

As Kaveri flows down the cool green Western Ghats, she swells in size as tiny rivulets and streams join her and the incessant monsoon rains hitting hard on the Ghats convert her into a potent force, a force that is the lifeline for crores and crores of people downstream, till the point she slips into the Bay of Bengal before passing over the hot plains of Tamil Nadu.

Every year when the rains continue, the entire journey of Kaveri is turned into a verdant landscape. The milling crowds downstream are so satisfied and often times have no concern to conserve this liquid gold for some tomorrow that could give rise to another conflict for the dearth of this gold.

Let us ask a very simple question: why can’t both the states with ingenuity chalk out a conservation charter that goes a long way in securing Kaveri for a long long time to come?

It should not matter to Tamil Nadu if they are investing crores to safeguard the forest and the bio diversity of Karnataka state, a state that speaks Kannada and whose denizens are called Kannadigas.

It should not matter to Karnataka if Tamil Nadu has a say in conserving the ecological balance in the Western Ghats or if they cultivate the Kuruvai.

One of the bio-diversity hotspots on the face of the earth, the Western Ghats is crucial for the survival of Deccan Plateau. It is time now to decide if more of logging, hydel projects, tea gardens, mines or highways cutting across the slopes of the Ghats are needed.

The coffee prices that fell during the start of the century led to logging in the estates of debt-laden planters, the vanishing timber to accommodate tea gardens and the hydel projects that inundate hundreds of acres of forests have impacted the rainfall leading to unpredictable monsoons. Also poaching of tiger that is on top of water security should stop right now.

Any commercial or ‘developmental’ activity that tampers with the forest will have to be paid a heavy price. As the song goes—Wondering if mother Earth will survive, hoping that mankind will stop abusing her, sometime—shouldn’t we be saying enough is enough and it is cul-de-sac to all these, sing the conservation anthem and work towards it.

After all, no Court order can save the day for TN if there are no rains, while Karnataka continues to burn at times of distress.

Well, let HDK and MK not plug on to Ozzy to solve our problems, but more forethought and a resolve to address the core issue would be wise rather than going through the hefty laws and paying fancy fees to the Attorneys and at the same time foster continued unrest in both the states.

If future wars are fought for waters, the victory cannot be achieved by firing more missiles, but by securing the water sources. And for that we need our forests to remain forests. Else the rain shadow region of ours will see no rains.