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Women worried over Cauvery verdict

Special Correspondent

`They collect and store water for household purposes'



WATER POLITICS: The former Minister H.N. Nanje Gowda (third from left), Pramila Nesargi, chairperson of Karnataka State Women's Commission, and the former Minister Leeladevi R. Prasad, at a seminar on `Water and women' on the occasion of Internationa l Water Day in Bangalore on Friday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Bangalore: The seminar organised by the Karnataka Women's Commission on "Women and water" to mark World Water Day turned into a forum for discussions on a variety of topics, including the Cauvery Tribunal Award, rather than one for a discussion on how the water crisis impacts the lives of women.

Commission chairperson Pramila Nesargi, in her introductory remarks at the seminar here on Friday, spoke of how India needed to evolve a long-term vision on water management and a water budgeting pattern.

Bangalore, a city once known for its tanks, had lost most of them and the few that survived did not have potable water, said Ms. Nesargi. She cited some experiments in Kerala and Maharashtra at recharging water bodies. The crisis of access to a basic resource like water had hit women the worst, because they were traditionally associated with collecting, storing and using water for household purposes, she added.

She said the verdict of the Cauvery tribunal would worsen the water crisis in Karnataka.

The former minister Leeladevi R. Prasad and the former Malnad Area Development Board chairperson Swarna Prabhakar spoke about the Cauvery award, veering off from the topic slated for discussion.

K.P. Puthuraya, former research director of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), chosen to be one of the resource persons at the seminar, started his presentation with jokes and a series of quotations from ancient texts that glorified the role of women in society.

H.G. Shobha, a social activist, tried to bring the discussion back to the topic, by speaking about women's claim to water as a natural resource and how even the Cauvery issue had got politicised. But it was close to lunchtime and there was hardly any room for elaboration.

The former Minister H.N. Nanje Gowda was left with barely five minutes.

Prof. Ramachandra Mohan of Bangalore University, who had come prepared with a power point presentation, had to wait till after lunch to be heard.

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