Three days after Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw criticised the Karnataka bandh, called as part of the Cauvery water dispute, the businesswoman has released an open letter saying her detractors unfairly shamed her. Shaw had tweeted “Another Bandh - it’s now Bandhaluru where bandhs r affecting productivity – what a sad situation where farmers on both sides can’t share.” She immediately faced flak for her words, and deleted the tweet soon after.
In the past four weeks, there have been three major shutdowns in the city and parts of the state, Mint reported. Shaw quickly clarified her statement in a series of new tweets on Friday:
Here is the full text of the open letter she put out on Monday.
The last two days of outrage expressed against my innocuous tweet onBangalore bandh, has hurt me and pained me to the core. My tweet hasbeen distorted and misinterpreted and used to hurl abuse and shameme, which is most unfair. I am shocked to see such negative vile beinghurled at me from different quarters.As a proud Kannadiga, I have worked tirelessly over decades inBangalore not just as a businesswoman creating several thousand jobsbut as a proud and responsible citizen, investing my personal time,energy and funds for the welfare of the people of Karnataka. I haveutmost love and respect for my fellow citizens, especially farmers andam aware of the hardships faced by them due to acute water shortageand believe Karnataka's needs from Cauvery water must be addressedfirst.However, I am of the view that Bandhs are not a solution to this graveissue, this long standing Cauvery water dispute needs to be settledthrough non emotional, evidence based amicable discussions betweenthe two state governments.
Welfare InitiativesThrough my foundation I have been investing in creating sustainablelivelihood solutions for people of Karnataka in nearly 100GramPanchayats covering nearly 1500 villages for more than a decade.Through our initiatives in healthcare and education we have beentouching several hundred thousand lives. 90% of our beneficiaries arefarmer families across Mandya, Anekal, Hoskete, Chikaballapura,Dandelli, Coorg, Billagi, Bagalkot, Badami, Mangalguda, Kalkunte,Chikaballapur, Kaladgi, Halyal Vijayapur, Tumkur, Bijapur, Huskur, andHennagara in Karnataka.We have also built a township in Bagalkot where over 400 farmerfamilies have been rehabilitated and provided sustainable living throughhouses equipped with solar lights and toilets and have access to cleandrinking water through a water filtration plant. We have also set up aprimary health clinic to provide them medical support and are alsobuilding a community centre and a primary school.Since early 2000, through my philanthropy I have been supporting ruralcommunities with comprehensive primary healthcare services throughhealth clinics, management of malnutrition in children, early detectionand prevention of oral & cervical cancer and management of diabetes andHypertension. Under ‘Chinnara Ganitha’ program we have benefitedover 7 lakhs farmers’ children across 1550 schools in Karnataka. Wehave developed and provided special text books to enable activity basedlearning to develop critical competencies in mathematics for the studentsof class 1 to class 7.I am deeply concerned with the state of farmers and have therefore alsocollaborated with eKisaan Foundation to enable our farmers withtechnology that can empower them to take right decisions. Severalhundred gram panchayats have been equipped with Tablets to benefitseveral thousand farmers in those regions. This initiative of Biocon ishelping farmers living in remote areas of Karnataka regularly accessinformation needed for raising their crop yield in a cost effective manner.For the city of Bengaluru, I have been personally engaging with theGovernment and various administrative departments to address variousinfrastructure challenges of the city. As the founder member of B.PAC, Iam selflessly investing in various initiatives to address ongoingchallenges of the city and to improve the life of an average Bangalorean.However, despite my commitment to the city and state there are groupsof people who have been targeting me with their spiteful commentswhich I find most deplorable and in extreme bad taste.Cavery River Water Distribution FactsCauvery river originating from Talakaveri in Karnataka has a length of800 kilometer, of which 320 Km is in Karnataka and 416 km in TamilNadu with remaining across Kerala border. There are 3 damsconstructed by Karnataka (KRS, Kabini and Harangi) which have a totalcapacity of 104 TMC of water, while Tamil Nadu has a total capacity of136 TMC of water through its 3 dams (Mettur, Bhavani Sagar andAmaravathi).Tamil Nadu’s irrigated lands have nearly doubled over the last 3-5decades from an area of 1,440,000 acres to 2,580,000 acres, with1,140,000 forest land being converted to farming land. WhileKarnataka’s irrigated area has stood at 680,000 acres, with no changesto the irrigated lands.
Current Shortage of waterAs per available public domain information Karnataka requires 81 TMCof water to cater to drinking water requirements and water for farming.However the total water currently available in all the 3 dams is only 56TMC, 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 currentlyto cater to its regular needs, while Tamil Nadu has been constantlydemanding for the additional share of the water to sustain its additionalagricultural activity.With 90% of the monsoon season over and little or no further rainfallexpected, Karnataka is facing a serious shortage of water to drink, yethas agreed to comply with the Supreme Court order of releasingadditional water to Tamil Nadu, this reflects the large heartedness ofKannadigas.However, at this moment Tamil Nadu Government‘s additional demandfor more water to be released for their summer commercial crop isunfair.In light of these unjust demands being made on Karnataka, the protestand agitation by the farmers is well placed, however the manner in whichthis is being done is not appropriate, two wrongs don’t make one right.The bandhs and violent protests not only hamper the common man andthe daily wage earner but also impacts the overall productivity. One dayof bandh leads to an economic loss of several thousand crores whichimpacts the health of the state and its people.I would therefore urge both Karnataka and Tamil NaduGovernments to resolve this long standing water dispute throughamicable evidence based discussions in the best interest of ourfarmers.