The Karnataka government has stopped the release of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu since Sunday evening and filed a petition before the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) to suspend the Cauvery Monitoring Committee’s directive to the State to release 12 tmcft to Tamil Nadu in December, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told the Legislative Assembly on Monday.
Karnataka has also asked the Centre not to notify the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) by December-end without consulting it.
Mr. Shettar said the government had complied with the Supreme Court order and released 10,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu between December 5 and 9.
Dharna in both Houses
As soon as the House met for the day, the entire Opposition staged a dharna, demanding Mr. Shettar’s statement on the release of Cauvery waters.
While Janata Dal (Secular) members blamed the Congress for its failure to put pressure on the UPA government to give justice to the State, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah hit out at the government for neglecting the State’s interest, particularly the farmers in the basin districts.
The Opposition also staged a dharna in the Legislative Council, opposing the release of water. Congress and JD(S) members trooped to the well and raised slogans against the government for misleading the House. Speaker K.G. Bopaiah adjourned the House for 10 minutes.
When the House met again, the Chief Minister said the CMC, in its September 2012 order, had drawn a road map on release of water by the State to Tamil Nadu in October, November, December and January. As per the road map, the State should release 10.37 tmcft to Tamil Nadu during the normal monsoon year. During the distress period, the State should release 6.12 tmcft in December.
However, the CMC has directed the State to release 12 tmcft in December, Mr. Shettar said. He termed the order “detrimental to the State’s interest.”
Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath, who attended the CMC meeting, has expressed the State’s difficulty in releasing the water due to widespread drought in the Cauvery basin districts, the Chief Minister said.
The CMC also advised both States to be more efficient in using available water.
Mr. Shettar said he had written a letter to the Prime Minister on Monday morning to convene a meeting of the CRA to discuss various issues, including the notification of the final award of the Tribunal announced in 2007.
In a reply to T.B. Jayachandra (Congress), Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai said the government has filed an application before the Tribunal seeking clarifications, and another before the Supreme Court questioning the Tribunal’s order.
The Centre cannot gazette the final notification before these two applications were disposed of, he said.
Satisfied with the government’s reply, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the Opposition would withdraw the dharna and participate in the House proceedings.