Karnataka has made its stand clear against any kind of negotiations with neighbouring States where tribunal award has been given already even as Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday announced that an all party meeting would be convened to discuss water issues.
While Water Resources Minister Govind Karjol met Union Jal Shakthi Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat here early on Sunday morning to convey the State's stand on negotiated settlement for water issues as suggested by the latter on Saturday, Mr. Bommai told reporters in Hubballi that the all party meeting would be convened during the ongoing budget session of the legislature. "I will also seek time with the Union Minister to find solutions to the water issues. The state has already urged the Union Water Resources Minister to provide early clearance to Mekedaatu DPR."
Meanwhile, Water Resources Department sources said that Mr. Karjol clearly stated that there is no need for negotiation and the question of a dialogue does not arise. "Karnataka has the right on water and the right has been established by the tribunal awards. Negotiable settlement is not advisable after tribunal awards. In case of Cauvery and Mahadayi rivers, the Centre has already gazetted the awards and Krishna tribunal 2 award is yet to be done. All these concerns were conveyed to the Centre," sources said.
During a nearly one-hour meeting, sources said Mr. Karjol made it clear that negotiation is an instrument before a tribunal award is given, and Karnataka would refuse any type of negotiations with any State where tribunal award is concluded. "In case of Cauvery, Karnataka's stand is that there is no case for Tamil Nadu after it is ensured 177 tmcft of water at inter state border guage at Biligundlu. Mr. Karjol conveyed that the issue of surplus water has to be a larger issue discussed on a different forum after hydrology studies ascertain the excess quantum available."
Seeking early filing of an affidavit by the Centre with respect to vacating the stay in the Krishna water dispute in Supreme Court, Mr. Karjol is learnt to have informed the Union Minister that Karnataka has been unable to utilise its share despite spending ₹ 13,600 crore on Upper Krishna Project-3 as the Krishna Water Tribunal 2 award has not been gazetted yet. "The centre has been informed that unless water is impounded at a height of 524 mts. at Almatti, Karnataka cannot use water. The affidavit of the centre in the court will help get a favourable decision that will help gazette the tribunal award. This will help Karnataka use the Krishna river water from this water year beginning June," sources said.
Regarding utilisation of water from Mahadayi river, Karnataka has sought environmental and forest clearance since tribunal award has been gazetted already. "the State has informed the centre that open water trench will not be used to transfer water for drinking water purpose to Dharwad. Instead water pipes are to be used and the state has also shown alternative afforestation to the Centre."