Next course of action after its response, says Shettar at the end of all-party meeting

After discussions with political leaders, the Karnataka government has decided to submit a letter to the Prime Minister-led Cauvery River Authority to act swiftly on its request to withhold its September 19 order that directed the State to release 9,000 cusecs of water a day until October 15.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who chaired an all-party meeting here on Saturday, said later: “We will fax our representation to the CRA since this is an emergent matter. The next course of action will be [decided] only after the response from the CRA. All parties and farmers’ organisations have demanded that no water be released now that we ourselves are facing distress.”

A week ago, the State filed a review petition under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, seeking an interim stay on the ruling until it was reviewed and set aside.

In a way, Saturday’s decision is a repeat of the exercise and comes after the Supreme Court’s Friday verdict that Karnataka abide by the CRA order.

Mr. Shettar, along with Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, held detailed discussions with legal experts in New Delhi on Friday to finalise the State’s stand, especially since the State could face contempt action if it failed to implement the court’s directive. Consequently, informed sources in the government told The Hindu, the State could also release a certain quantum of water to avoid any legal tangle.

Meanwhile, protests and demonstrations were staged in the Cauvery basin districts of Mysore and Mandya.

The authorities have stepped up security for the Krishnaraja Sagar and Kabini dams after farmers’ representatives threatened to prevent water release to Tamil Nadu.

The outflow from the two dams has dropped to 2,000 cusecs from around 6,000 cusecs on Friday.

Gowda’s suggestion

The former Prime Minister, H.D. Deve Gowda, has suggested that the State government abide by the CRA order for three days and then appeal to the Prime Minister for a Central team to visit Karnataka to assess the storage in the Krishnaraja Sagar, Hemavati, Kabini and Harangi dams. Thereafter, it could decide on releasing water.

There is an element of politics in the issue, given that the State is heading for Assembly elections in May 2013.