Karnataka told to release more Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu
Karnataka was Friday directed by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee to release to Tamil Nadu 12 TMC (thousand million cubic) feet of Cauvery river water during December.
Expressing disappointment at the CMC's order, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said in New Delhi that the state will appeal against it to the Supreme Court, on whose directive the committee met in the national capital Friday.
Shettar, who had met central Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat and told him that Karnataka was in no position to release water to the neighbouring state, also said that his government will appeal to the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) to nullify the CMC order.
The CRA is headed by the prime minister and comprises chief ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. The three states and the union territory have to share waters of the Cauvery river, which raises in Karnataka and flows into Bay of Bengal after traversing 800kms though the three states and Puducherry.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who is also in New Delhi, told reporters that the CMC has not taken the ground reality into consideration while deciding the water needs of the two states.
The CMC is made up of central water resources secretary and chief secretaries of the three states and Puducherry.
Karnataka has been arguing that the water storage at Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir in the state is only 21 TMC feet which is required to meet the state's irrigation and drinking needs, including that of Bangalore, which heavily depends on Cauvery water for drinking purpose.
Karnataka has declared 156 taluks or revenue subdivisions out of 176 taluks as drought following failure of monsoon this year. Of these 45 taluks are in the state's Cauvery belt.
However Tamil Nadu has been arguing that it too has not received the expected rains this season and if 30 TMC feet of water is not given to it in December, paddy crops in thousands of acres in the state will die.
The CMC met following the Supreme Court's Wednesday directive.
The apex court had also ordered Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water daily till Sunday and had asked the CMC to submit its decision to the court on Monday when the matter will be heard again.
After a day's delay, Karnataka began releasing water to Tamil Nadu late Thursday as the neighbour threatened to file a contempt of court petition.
The release has sparked protests in Mandya district, about 80 km from Bangalore and where the KRS reservoir is located.
Farmers and Kannada activists blocked traffic between Bangalore and Mysore in Mandya and picketed district authorities offices.
They have called for Mandya shutdown Saturday.
Schools and colleges in the district remained closed for the second day Friday and Saturday also they will not function, authorities announced in Mandya.
Vehicular movement between the two states was also stopped at the border district of Chamarajanagar, about 200 km from Bangalore, in Karnataka.
The water row disrupted the legislature session being held in Belgaum, about 500 km north of Bangalore.
With opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular strongly protesting against water release, the assembly and the legislative council were adjourned till Monday without transacting the scheduled business.