'It was done to strengthen our case in the Supreme Court’
Faced with little choice but to implement the Supreme Court order on releasing Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said his government had complied with the order to strengthen its case when the matter would come up in the court and to protect the interests of farmers.
Speaking to presspersons on Sunday, Mr. Shettar, accompanied by Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, said 7,300 cusecs had been released as of 11 a.m. on Sunday at Biligundlu gauging station. This included 4,400 cusecs from Krishnaraja Sagar.
Mr. Bommai said the release included natural flow, thanks to rain in the last two days. Bhagamandala received 46 mm of rain and this may improve in the days to come, he added.
Mr. Shettar said the State government would approach the Supreme Court in three days seeking justice for people in the State, who have been facing drought.
He appealed to the farmers and their leaders who have been protesting to maintain peace.
Rebutting the charges made by Congress leaders, including Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, Mr. Shettar said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been requested through a memorandum and at the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) meet to send a Central team to assess the situation.
Till it presented its report to the CRA, the hearing could have been adjourned, he added.
The Chief Minister said Mr. Singh had fixed October 5 for hearing from chief secretaries and officers of the States and October 8 from the Chief Ministers on the review petition filed by Karnataka.
Denying that he had walked out of the CRA meeting, Mr. Shettar said he protested only after the Prime Minister made his order and not during the hearing.
He had indeed tried to convince Mr. Singh of the grim situation in the State, he said.
Calls for his resignation were a “political gimmick”, the Chief Minister added.
He praised the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda for his advice during Saturday’s meeting.
Mr. Bommai denied that State counsel F.S. Nariman had abstained from court; it was only a mention time and there was no need for him to appear before it.
He ruled out replacing him, as he had protected the interests of the State in river waters disputes even during the tenures of S.M. Krishna and Mr. Gowda.
Mandya Correspondent reports:
Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. officials, after getting a direction from the State government on Saturday evening, opened the crest gates of the KRS between midnight and 12.30 a.m. on Sunday.
People across the district staged protests against the State government for releasing water. Life has been thrown out of gear in Mandya, Srirangapatna, Pandavapur, Maddur and Malavalli.