As the row over sharing of Cauvery waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu intensified with protests in both the States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yet again refused appointment to a delegation, led by Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, which arrived here on Thursday night and wanted to explain the distress situation it was facing in the State.
Mr. Shettar, who could only meet Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat here along with Karnataka’s Water Resource Minister Basavaraj Bommai, claimed that the decision of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC), which met earlier in the afternoon in Delhi on Friday and asked Karnataka to provide Tamil Nadu with 12 tmcft of Cauvery water during December to Tamil Nadu, was “arbitrary and unacceptable” to the State.
The Chief Minister said he would hold consultations with the legal experts here on Sunday and explain to the Supreme Court about the problems faced, even for drinking water, in Karnataka and seek a legal remedy.
Mr. Bommai claimed that they had been seeking appointment of Dr. Singh to explain the situation in the State since Wednesday.
Officials of the State government pointed out that even on October 9 when the Chief Minister led a delegation here to meet Dr. Singh to discuss the Cauvery situation the appointment was refused.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bommai told The Hindu that the CMC, in its order on Friday, had contradicted its own order issued in September. He said in that September meeting the CMC had worked out only 6.1 tmcft had to be given by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu for December. “I don’t know how come the figure jumped to 12 tmcft now and it is for the CMC to explain,” he said adding that how could CMC pass such an order even after physically inspecting the water position in the Karnataka reservoirs by the officials sent from Delhi. “We will put a very strong stand against the CMC order and object to it in the Supreme Court on Monday and seek legal remedy to save Karnataka’s interests. We have no other option,” Mr. Bommai said.
Earlier, the delegation met Union Minister Rawat and said Karnataka was unable to release more water to Tamil Nadu as its reservoirs did not have sufficient storage.
Among others the delegation was joined by Union Ministers from Karnataka M. Mallikarjun Kharge and K.H. Muniyappa and senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar.
Officials here pointed out that the four reservoirs of Karnataka now had only 36.30 tmcft of water against the 10 year average of 53.70 tmcft, and Tamil Nadu had 17.04 tmcft against a 10 year average of 59.30 tmcft.