Karnataka to seek more time to release Cauvery water

The Karnataka government will on Monday move the Supreme Court seeking more time to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. It will ask for a modification of the interim order to be permitted to account water before the end of the season in January next, and not on September 27.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday brought this to the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a letter, enclosing a copy of the resolution passed unanimously by the Karnataka legislature on Friday that Cauvery water will not be drawn for any purpose other than drinking.

The move of the State, aimed at buying time and not being seen as “defiant” by the court, in effect, means Karnataka will not comply with the Supreme Court order, directing it to release water at the rate of 6,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu till September 27.

Mr. Siddaramaiah reiterates in the letter that “the government has no intention to disregard any of the orders of the honourable Supreme Court.”

The State legal team is expected to file an application in the Supreme Court on Monday and submit the legislature’s resolution. This is to inform the court “in advance” of the State’s inability to follow its directive.

The team headed by Fali S. Nariman held a meeting in Delhi and prepared a strategy to be adopted before the apex court, which will hear the matter on September 27.

Mr. Siddaramaiah held detailed discussions with Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil, officials of the department and legal experts.

To plead inability

Government sources said the State would plead before the Supreme Court to apply the principle of “live and let live” to Karnataka to ensure drinking water to people residing in the Cauvery basin, including Bengaluru. All four reservoirs had 27.6 tmcft of water. A quantum of 24.11 tmcft of water was required for drinking water purposes till the end of May 2017.

Sources said with the backing of the BJP, the State government had decided to put pressure on the Modi government to not take steps to form the Cauvery Management Board, as instructed by the apex court.

The government was also planning to a take a delegation to the Centre.