Sunday, 11 September 2016

An Open Letter to Citizens of Karnataka



The last two days of outrage expressed against my innocuous tweet on Bangalore bandh, has hurt me and pained me to the core. My tweet has been distorted and misinterpreted and used to hurl abuse and shame me, which is most unfair. I am shocked to see such negative vile being hurled at me from different quarters.

As a proud Kannadiga, I have worked tirelessly over decades in Bangalore not just as a businesswoman creating several thousand jobs but as a proud and responsible citizen, investing my personal time, energy and funds for the welfare of the people of Karnataka. I have utmost love and respect for my fellow citizens, especially farmers and am aware of the hardships faced by them due to acute water shortage and believe Karnataka's needs from Cauvery water must be addressed first.

However, I am of the view that Bandhs are not a solution to this grave issue, this long standing Cauvery water dispute needs to be settled through non emotional, evidence based amicable discussions between the two state governments.

Welfare Initiatives

Through my foundation I have been investing in creating sustainable livelihood solutions for people of Karnataka in nearly 100 GramPanchayats covering nearly 1500 villages for more than a decade. Through our initiatives in healthcare and education we have been touching several hundred thousand lives. 90% of our beneficiaries are farmer families across Mandya, Anekal, Hoskete, Chikaballapura, Dandelli, Coorg, Billagi, Bagalkot, Badami, Mangalguda, Kalkunte, Chikaballapur, Kaladgi, Halyal Vijayapur, Tumkur, Bijapur, Huskur, and Hennagara in Karnataka.

We have also built a township in Bagalkot where over 400 farmer families have been rehabilitated and provided sustainable living through houses equipped with solar lights and toilets and have access to clean drinking water through a water filtration plant. We have also set up a primary health clinic to provide them medical support and are also building a community centre and a primary school.
Since early 2000, through my philanthropy I have been supporting rural communities with comprehensive primary healthcare services through health clinics, management of malnutrition in children, early detection and prevention of oral & cervical cancer and management of diabetes & Hypertension. Under ‘Chinnara Ganitha’ program we have benefited over 7 lakhs farmers’ children across 1550 schools in Karnataka. We have developed and provided special text books to enable activity based learning to develop critical competencies in mathematics for the students of class 1 to class 7.

I am deeply concerned with the state of farmers and have therefore also collaborated with eKisaan Foundation to enable our farmers with technology that can empower them to take right decisions. Several hundred gram panchayats have been equipped with Tablets to benefit several thousand farmers in those regions.  This initiative of Biocon is helping farmers living in remote areas of Karnataka regularly access information needed for raising their crop yield in a cost effective manner.

For the city of Bengaluru, I have been personally engaging with the Government and various administrative departments to address various infrastructure challenges of the city.  As the founder member of B.PAC, I am selflessly investing in various initiatives to address ongoing challenges of the city and to improve the life of an average Bangalorean. However, despite my commitment to the city and state there are groups of people who have been targeting me with their spiteful comments which I find most deplorable and in extreme bad taste.

Cauvery River Water Distribution Facts

Cauvery river originating from Talakaveri in Karnataka has a length of 800 kilometer, of which 320 Km is in Karnataka and 416 km in Tamil Nadu with remaining across Kerala border. There are 3 dams constructed by Karnataka (KRS, Kabini and Harangi) which have a total capacity of 104 TMC of water, while Tamil Nadu has a total capacity of 136 TMC of water through its 3 dams (Mettur, Bhavani Sagar and Amaravathi).

Tamil Nadu’s irrigated lands have nearly doubled over the last 3-5 decades from an area of 1,440,000 acres to 2,580,000 acres, with 1,140,000 forest land being converted to farming land.  While Karnataka’s irrigated area has stood at 680,000 acres, with no changes to the irrigated lands.

Current Shortage of water

As per available public domain information Karnataka requires 81 TMC of water to cater to drinking water requirements and water for farming. However the total water currently available in all the 3 dams is only 56 TMC, out of which 22 TMC water is a dead water (below the dam gates). This indicates that Karnataka has a scarcity of 47 TMC of water currently to cater to its regular needs, while Tamil Nadu has been constantly demanding for the additional share of the water to sustain its additional agricultural activity.

With 90% of the monsoon season over and little or no further rainfall expected, Karnataka is facing a serious shortage of water to drink, yet has agreed to comply with the Supreme Court order of releasing additional water to Tamil Nadu, this reflects the large heartedness of Kannadigas.

However, at this moment Tamil Nadu Government‘s additional demand for more water to be released for their summer commercial crop is unfair.

In light of these unjust demands being made on Karnataka, the protest and agitation by the farmers is well placed, however the manner in which this is being done is not appropriate, two wrongs don’t make one right. The bandhs and violent protests not only hamper the common man and the daily wage earner but also impacts the overall productivity. One day of bandh leads to an economic loss of several thousand crores which impacts the health of the state and its people.

I would therefore urge both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Governments to resolve this long standing water dispute through amicable evidence based discussions in the best interest of our farmers.





36 comments:

  1. Sensible message ! We are proud of your social activities madam @

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  2. We are with you Kiran. A true Kannadiga is one who will work for the state tirelessly to make it prosperous. Unfortunately the awareness level is so shallow. We have been fighting for water over 100 years and we have not resolved anything. It is so politically driven. I am shocked at how goons entered the Accenture campus and threatened the employees in spite of the security present there. This is such an unkannadiga like behaviour. My heart beats for this city and I am shocked by my fellow Kannadiga behaviour towards fellow Indians.....

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  3. We are with you Kiran! Bangalore loves you. Don't get bogged down by some anti social elements who try to misinterpret all the better things.

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  4. Thank you for your insights into this ma'am. On the behalf of the sensible kannadigas of Bangalore I would like to apologize for the pain that you have gone through. If only people would be as proactive in their actions as they are in speech these issues would be resolved a long time ago..

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  5. Thank you for your insights into this ma'am. On the behalf of the sensible kannadigas of Bangalore I would like to apologize for the pain that you have gone through. If only people would be as proactive in their actions as they are in speech these issues would be resolved a long time ago..

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  6. I totally agree with your view Mrs Kiran. What is being missed out here is that these strikes in turn hurt our fellow farmers with their produce going wasted. These issues cannot be resolved through strikes instead has to be resolved through political discussions and lawfully. This has been an unresolved issue for decades but still no common grounds reached which is unfortunate. It is also unfortunate that you have been targeted without taking the right meaning of your statement. People should also remember the contribution that you had made and you have been tirelessly making in the development of our fellow farmers and to the Karnataka state. I do understand the pain that you had been put through but there are people like us in support of you.

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  7. If the govts really wanted to solve this then they would suit and discuss a solution. I am sure there is one. Drier countries are solving water problems, we are not one. The best part of all this is that there would soon be floods in Chennai if it rains heavily. What an Irony ?

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  8. People don't need an excuse to hurl abuses and criticism. It's the easiest thing to do - and sadly a trend that's catching on. "You don't say what we want you to say" - and that makes you a horrible person.

    There's nothing wrong in what you said. It was logical and based on facts and not based on an emotional reaction to a very touchy subject. It was objective. Sadly, at least 90% of the reactions I've seen, are nothing short of idiotic.

    From people bringing language into the conversation to people blaming other people for coming to Bangalore. It's easy to react this way because it does not take much cognitive effort to come to such a conclusion. It's easy to take one factor and assume that all problems stem from this one factor. The reality is that it is a complex issue which requires that people work together to find an amicable and LOGICAL solution. Burning tyres and threatening people, does nothing.

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  9. Dear Kiran Mazumdar Shaw,
    Thank you for understanding and explaining why cauvery crisis araised , yes the bandh causes economic slow down but for farmers it's Year full of problems due to not getting sufficient water for drinking and irrigation, in last few years Karnataka has seen lot of farmer suicide because their crop failed due to water and so many other reasons, when we'll known personalities like you take social media to express your problem to not to operate your business for a day what farmers has to do? Neither the govt nor the law is supporting them, Hope your suggestion will be considered by TN and Karnataka government to resolve Cauvery issue permanently, Please keep up the good work and try not to hurt the sentiments of people in sensitive matters.

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  10. Ma'am you did not need to explain yourself! We will stand solidly behind you! The media is always twisting and sensationalising stuff.

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  11. First of all appreciate the great philanthropy work across the state and going to the places far from the city of Bengaluru and to take up the cause for less privileged in one or other sense. Emotions do run high during these kind of situations, reasons are plenty, the loss, injustice, apathy from quarters that govern and represent them, fear of future, fear of failure and not to undermine instigations from contending party here and to some extent within!

    It's really commendable to see you have dug the details of the situation, the facts and supported by standing clearly on the side of the people. As you too mentioned Kannadigas are known for taking everybody along without prejudice on origin, it's not going to change, it's just the support needed, emotionally, morally during these hours.

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  12. Wow what a clarity. You efforts on rural welfare is very much appreciated.Dr.Kiran you are an asset to the entire world, being a part of us feel proud. We are also trying our bit to recycle water. We are working with layout to convert treated stp water to potable water for reuse. All the very best mam.

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  13. You are a rare breed, a doer among talkers and whiners. Hats off to you!

    samir kelekar

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  14. Thank u Kiran Madam! We respect you and thanks again for clarifying!!

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  15. This was not a bandh at decency...it brought a death to families too...but bandh organizers and supporters have no regret...then why are they organising bandh for when people in their Karnataka are died..

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  16. In Short Bangalore is in big mess created by total unplanned development & corrupt setup is non liveable city claimed by many FB petitions or Change.org (USA) that is also imported. With this Water Dispute the true and ugly face is well projected by media to destroy the Brand Bangalore Image, We are still ruled by the activities of goon behavior on the city road. This show is to prove to ourselves that we are mentally downtrodden with animal nature. Govt has failed completely:-
    1)Farmer suicides 2) IAS-IPS Deaths 3) Demolition 4)SC mishandle. 5) Unlimited Bandh 6)Law & Order management failure. 7)Garage management. 8) Road Conditions.

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  17. Your comments are spot on. We Kannadigas are traditionally peaceful, but a few rotten elements have vitiated the atmosphere in our cosmopolis. Besides losing water and crops, we are losing our character and reputation for hospitality. Thank you for your clarity in thought and expression.

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  18. Exactly mam, why isn't KA govt fighting the case in Supreme court with the exact Details of the Water Crisis ? Why are they hiding behind the false Riots as a reason to not follow Supreme Court Orders ? Instead, y dont they get the best of the lawyers to fight for them in the Supreme Court. Is it because our govt doesn't have confidence on our Judicial System ? I still can't understand, y aren't the facts being presented to the Supreme Court & Y is our govt opposing the Tribunal Formation ?

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  19. This is very encouraging to find such an emotional appeal from you Ma'am to the people on Cauvery Issue, and Bandh that affects public life. Very unfortunate too to find irresponsible statements and behaviours from public in social media that I feel is biased, propagated or driven by few power hungry weak willed people to spread hatred that have negative repercussions on the state as well as on the country.

    The term freedom of expression and Democracy in recent times have been used to create disruptions through mob incitement or by manipulating public sentiments. This outcomes with destroying public life and properties that steps backward the prosperity of the rich states unlike Haryana (Gurgaon), Karnataka (Bengaluru), Gujarat etc. It is seen the disruptions module is very similar in all affected cities – protests, strikes, demonstrations then use of social media to reach masses and to incite mob followed by violent demonstrations that create disruptions/destructions, yielding an urgency for the state or the country without reaching to any conclusive point or solutions. It seems there are vested interests of people who are playing with the sentiments and public mood. Even though the hidden interest of the people behind the show is to preach power, common people involved in violence/protests for the sake of emotions are not realizing, that they have been destructing their own identity, prospect and future prosperity paths of their own state and the country.

    In one of his article in 2011, Professor Prabhat Pattnaik, JNU, New Delhi cited about Messianism that is indeed killing the collectivism, social spirit and well being of people. The public may participate with a great enthusiasm or out of frustrations or in an emotional support for a cause, they are the mute spectators and many a times a cheer leaders since all protests or violent activities are controlled by the messiah’s individual benefit, personal interest towards power politics in playing with public outbursts, anger and emotions. The public never understand the ethics, rationale or legitimacy however whenever they march, they march for their Messiah. The organized protest under a single or group of people with a public outcry drove the state or the country many steps backward. Anna Hazare protest in Delhi, violence in Gurgaon or Bangalore or in Gujarat has only created nuances to disrupt, destruct our own well being, reputation, creativity, conveniences and credibility. The substitution of public anger for one man for the people, and the reduction of the people's role merely to being supporters, rioter or cheerleaders, is antithetical to democracy as discussed broadly by professor pattnaik.

    Time for the state, central government, thinkers, societies and socio-political organizations to think, introspect with suitable action plans in educating, informing and making public aware on issues to prevent possibilities of similar incidences in future.

    Thank you.

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  20. Thanks a lot Kiran ma'am for the details. You are truly a kannadiga and we are proud of you. I have been following you on times now, NDTV and other news channels, where in you were presenting very comprehensive, fact based and holistic solutions to many issues, including that of Cauvery water dispute. Please do not worry about some crooks who make a hit and cry about your tweets. Please continue your good work and I am sure that all proud kannagogas, specially bangaloreans will support you always

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  21. Dr.Kiran, Calling for Bandh and damaging public properties will not be a good solution to solve the problems. Peaceful settlement by considering the available natural resources will be the good idea, to keep the friendly relations with the neighbouring state.

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  22. Truly,, a wonderful article mentioning all the aspects,, rather,, carrying deep insights into the cauvery--river issue (becoming the crisis--point between Karnataka and Tamilnadu). also,, absolutely delighting to learn about the huge welfare activities done for the Rural Karnataka,, by your Foundation. Hats off to you !!!

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  23. Truly,, a wonderful article mentioning the deep insights into the cauvery--river issue. Equally fascinating to learn about the huge welfare activites for the Rural Karnataka carried out by your Foundation. Many Kudos !!!

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  24. I stand by Kiran madam on her views regarding bandhs. People calling bandhs may well harp tunes of democracy and their rights to do so, but they forget that bandhs only cause losses to the common man. A bandh is just a day gone waste without any work.I fail to see how bandhs are even considered a way of protest in progressive societies. It is but logical that bandhs never solve a problem. They are jsut a means to attract attention but isn't this issue already a highlighted one. Why call a bandh then? Rather sit down with all the stakeholders, show compassion for farmers from both the sides and resolve to solve the dispute through peaceful means. It is strange to see political leaders call bandhs in the name of peaceful protests and at the end of day we all see charred cars, buses on the news. Isn't this hypocrisy? Who are these guys venting anger on?

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  25. Ms Shaw

    Should one construe that crop cultivation should remain stagnant. What about increase in population, increase in water use due to industrialisaá¹­ion. Is Karnataka self sufficient in it's grains requirement? There should be a larger dialogue on multiple perspectives. Shortage of drinking water vs increase in farm land is a narrow closeted argument. A visionary like you ma'am know all this better.

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  26. Excellent Post! Rejoice life during holidays through Dandeli Resorts; located in Uttara Kannada, Karnataka state.

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