No water to spare, resolves Karnataka

Assembly skirts reference to Tamil Nadu, Supreme Court directive.

After a day-long special session, the two Houses of the Karnataka legislature, on Friday, unanimously passed a resolution stating that “it is imperative for the State government to ensure” that no water is drawn from the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin “except for drinking water requirements of villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and for the entire city of Bengaluru.”

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said: “We have the greatest respect for the judiciary and other pillars of democracy. Our objective is not to oppose the judiciary. We do not even dream of such a thought.

“We are in an extremely difficult situation and the State is facing distress for the second consecutive year and hence it is not possible to release water.”

The resolution means the Karnataka government has the backing of the State legislature to continue to refuse to implement the Supreme Court’s September 20 order to release water at the rate of 6,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to 27.

Tamil Nadu had demanded water for sowing of the samba rice crop in the delta districts of the State.

Interestingly, the carefully worded one-page resolution adopted by the Houses had no reference to the Supreme Court orders in the matter or statements made by Tamil Nadu. It only observed that it is in “a state of acute crisis” and the storages in the four reservoirs “have reached alarmingly low levels with only 27.6 Thousand Million Cubic Feet (tmcft) of water.”

State government officials said they will submit a copy of the resolution to the two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on the date of the next hearing on September 27, and plead before it that it could not implement its order.

The government will also send a copy of the resolution to the Union Water Resources Ministry.

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