Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday announced in the Legislative Assembly that the State government will not compromise on the Cauvery issue and it is committed to protect the interests of the people and the farmers in the Cauvery basin.
Replying to a debate on the Supreme Court order directing Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, Mr. Shettar said: “No hasty decision will be taken on the issue.” He added that legal experts would be consulted.
Mr. Shettar said the government had clearly told the Cauvery River Authority, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that it was unable to release water. He had suggested that farmers of both States and experts consult each other after inspecting reservoirs in both States.
Allaying fears that the State’s counsels were not handling the case well, Mr. Shettar said the State’s senior counsel F.S. Nariman had informed the Supreme Court that Karnataka could not release 25 tmcft of water as suggested by it. He said Tamil Nadu had requested the court to direct the State to release the backlog, but the latter was silent on it and the hearing had been adjourned to Monday. It had also ordered a meeting of the CMC on Friday. Refusing to comment on the order, he said he would have to discuss it with the floor leaders.
Earlier, the entire Opposition said the government must not release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu as ordered by the Supreme Court, irrespective of the consequences of such a decision.
Terming the apex court order as “dangerous and shocking”, Leader of the Opposition in Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah said water could not be released to the neighbouring State while farmers and cattle were in difficulty. He urged the government to file a review petition before the apex court. He warned that the State, especially the Cauvery basin region, would face a serious law and order situation. Blaming the State government for releasing water from the Kabini in the recent past, he said standing crops on 1.20 lakh acres had withered.
JD(S) leader H.D. Revanna termed the order a “death warrant” on the people of the Cauvery basin. He said 33 tmcft of water in four reservoirs was insufficient as 48 taluks in the basin were suffering drought. He suggested that the government ask the Centre to compensate farmers for crop loss from shortage of water.