Shettar to lead delegation to Prime Minister today

Following the Supreme Court’s directive to Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from December 5 to 9, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has decided to take a delegation to Delhi on Friday to apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat about the difficulty on the part of the State to release water to Tamil Nadu.

In a 10-page statement to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Shettar said farmers interests had been adversely affected when the State governments violated orders of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Supreme Court, Cauvery River Authority and the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) in the past.

In a reply to the debate on the Cauvery water issue, Mr. Shettar did not answer the specific question posed by the Opposition whether the government was implementing the apex court order. Instead, he said, the Government would continue its legal batter after consulting experts on Friday in New Delhi before attending the CMC meeting by officials.

The delegation comprising Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, Cauvery basin MPs and Union Ministers from the State would call on the Prime Minister and Mr. Rawat and explain to them the difficulty in implementing the Supreme Court directive, Mr. Shettar said.

Tracing the history of Cauvery water dispute between two States since 1892, Mr. Shettar said the Tamil Nadu Government has been pleading before the apex court to direct the State to release 52 tmcft of “backlog” water. Mr. Shettar made a similar statement in the Council.

In the morning, Mr Shettar chaired a meeting of floor leaders of both Houses of the legislature for nearly two hours and discussed implications of the Supreme Court’s directive to release water to Tamil Nadu.

As soon as the House met after the lunch, Opposition members trooped into well of the House demanding that the government not release Cauvery water. Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah demanded concrete answer from Mr. Shettar on the government’s commitment on safeguarding the farmers’ interests in the Cauvery basin. “We (Opposition) want to know whether the government is implementing the Supreme order or not.” The Chief Minister’s reply was very vague and there was no categorical answer stating that the water had not been released since yesterday, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

The storage of water in all four reservoirs of the Cauvery Basin — Harangi, Hemavathi, Krishnaraja Sagar and Kabini — was low compared with the previous years due to severe drought in 49 taluks. The basin districts have been facing severe shortage of drinking water and fodder. The standing crops in basin districts would be withered if the water was released to Tamil Nadu, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) members raised slogans against the government for its failure in protecting the interests of the farmers. They alleged that the State had already released about 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

T.B. Jayachandra, D.K. Shiva Kumar, H.C. Mahadevappa, N.L. Narendra Babu (all Congress); H.D. Revanna, C.S. Puttaraju, Ramesh Bandi Sidegowda, K.M. Shivalinge Gowda (all JD-S); B.N. Vijaya Kumar (BJP) and P.M. Narendraswamy (independent) spoke and demanded that the Government not release water to neighbouring State.

The Opposition resumed its dharna when the Chief Minister declined to give categorical answer on implementation of the Supreme Court directive. Speaker K G Bopaiah adjourned the House for the day.

Except discussion on the Cauvery row, the House did not transact any business during the entire day.

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