A day after the Supreme Court set the February 20 deadline to notify the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, the Karnataka government on Tuesday urged the Centre not to issue the notification till the disposal of two civil petitions pending in the Supreme Court and a review petition in the tribunal.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told the Legislative Assembly that the government would fight a legal battle to ensure justice to farmers of the State. There would be no compromise in safeguarding the State’s share in the water, he said.
It has been decided to convene a meeting of floor leaders of the State legislature on Wednesday to discuss a strategy to be adopted in the wake of the Supreme Court order.
Earlier, the Central government had assured the apex court that the award would be notified by January 31, 2013, but it had sought more time to notify it.
It has been exactly six years since the tribunal announced its verdict on water sharing on February 5, 2007.
Mr. Shettar said the government was ready for a detailed debate on the issue in the House and there would not be a change in the government’s stance. “We explained our position before the Cauvery River Authority meeting presided by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. I had written two letters to the Prime Minister explaining the government’s stand on the issue,” the Chief Minister said.
Saying that the Cauvery issue should be discussed apolitically, he said the government was ready to hear the views of the Opposition leaders.
Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai said: “The State has been urging the Centre to notify the award after the Supreme Court disposed off its two petitions and the review petition by the tribunal.
On the release of 2 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu, he said the Supreme Court had not fixed any time frame to release the water.
The apex court on Monday directed Karnataka to release 2 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu and asked the Central Water Commission to file a report on the water requirement of the two States. Mr. Bommai said the Supreme Court would hear the matter on February 6.
Earlier, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) opposed the notification of the 2007 tribunal award, stressing that the move would amount to grave injustice to the State’s interests.
‘Why change in stand’
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah referred to the Supreme Court order in which it was mentioned that Karnataka had expressly stated that it had no objections to its notification, and demanded that the government clarify its stand on the issue.
“Why this sudden change in the government’s stand?” he said, and demanded a detailed debate on the issue.
In the past, the State had expressed its reservations on the notification contending that a civil appeal is pending before the Supreme Court, which needs to be first disposed of. Also, it has maintained consistently that the award had done “injustice” to the State. JD(S) leader H.D. Revanna said it would not be wrong to say that the notification is a “mortal blow” to the State. Legislators irrespective of party affiliations should resign as a mark of protest if the Centre goes ahead with it.