Jagadish Shettar walks out of the Cauvery River Authority meeting

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said she was “totally disappointed” at the outcome of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) meeting held here as an “adamant” Karnataka even refused to accept the ruling of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also the Chairman of the CRA, asking Karnataka to release 9000 cusecs of water from September 20 to October 15 to Tamil Nadu.

“As Karnataka flatly refused to accept the ruling of the CRA Chairman, I registered my protest with the Prime Minister and we will again approach the Supreme Court on the issue,” said Ms. Jayalalithaa to journalists after attending the CRA meeting.

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said Karnataka walked out of the meeting protesting Dr. Singh’s ruling asking the State to release 9000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said Tamil Nadu had sought a bare minimum of water to save the standing Samba (paddy) crops on 15 lakh acres in the Cauvery delta. Initially, Tamil Nadu wanted Karnataka to release at least 2 TMC ft of water per day for 24 days. “This was not accepted.”

Since North-East monsoon was expected in Tamil Nadu during the second or third week of October, to tide over the crisis till then, the State demanded a bare minimum of at least 1 TMC ft of water per day for 30 days. “Even this was not accepted by Karnataka.”

As no consensus emerged in the meeting, Dr. Singh gave his ruling asking Karnataka to release 9000 cusecs of water. But throughout the meeting Karnataka was refusing to release water to Tamil Nadu, she said.

Mr. Shettar said the State had in detail explained the crisis faced by Karnataka due to inadequate monsoon. The Karnataka Chief Minister said he had also convened a meeting of all-party leaders at Bangalore on September 21 to discuss the developments in CRA.

Earlier accusing Karnataka of having depleted the reservoirs during the summer months, she said Tamil Nadu was made to suffer as it was a low riparian state.

During the current year, till September 15, Tamil Nadu should have received 122.32 TMC ft of water at Mettur dam, as per the Interim Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, whereas, it received 19.40 TMC ft.

Lost Kuruvai

Consequently, the entire Kuruvai cultivation was thrown into disarray. Assuming that Karnataka was in distress, Tamil Nadu should have received an additional 48.50 TMC ft of water as per the Distress Sharing Formula.

Mentioning water was released from Mettur dam last Monday to enable farmers to raise at least one single Samba Crop, in spite of insufficient storage, she said “the current situation is extremely critical. Mettur Dam has storage of about 45 TMC ft of water which is barely sufficient for 30 days, whereas the main reservoirs in Karnataka have about 80 per cent of their total gross capacity. If the North-East monsoon plays truant as did the south west monsoon, the entire hopes and aspirations of the Delta farmers will be dashed.”

The Chief Minister said Karnataka was neither honouring the interim order nor the final order in toto and was harping on the purported final order selectively.

She warned that the failure of the Karnataka government to release stipulated flow of water immediately to save the samba crop in the Cauvery basin would lead to a food crisis in Tamil Nadu.