Farmers in Mandya have been protesting for over two weeks against the Karnataka government’s decision to release water from the reservoirs built across the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu.
In response to the ongoing agitation, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday, announced that water will be released to all the tanks and canals in Mandya and Hassan districts from four reservoirs for drinking purposes.
Water Resource Minister MB Patil, Minister for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda, along with MPs and Legislators from Mandya and Hassan were present at the meeting in Bengaluru.
“Water from the Krishna Raja Sagar, Kabini, Harangi and Hemavati dams will be released from tomorrow (Thursday) to all tanks and canals in the parched districts of Mandya and Hassan,” CM Siddaramaiah said.
The Chief Minister urged farmers in Karnataka not to grow paddy this year in the wake of severe rainfall deficit.
“There have been reports of heavy rain in some parts of the state and dams filling up. But most districts are still parched and we can only hope that there will be adequate rainfall in the future. In order to take measures to prevent severe water shortage in the future, I urge the farmers to refrain from growing paddy this year as it requires a lot of water. Also, the water being released into the tanks and canals have to be used for drinking purposes only and not for irrigation,” the Chief Minister added.
Lashing out against the government’s decision, member of the Karnataka Farmers’ Association, Kurubara Shanthakumar said that the state government has “cheated the farmers of Karnataka”.
“What is the point of releasing the water now and saying don’t grow paddy. Paddy crops are sown in June and July. It is August now. The government had planned this all along. Since June we have been begging the government to release water. Forget irrigation, instead of giving the Karnataka farmers water to drink, they have released more than 20 TMC water to Tamil Nadu and are lying through their teeth about how much they have released till now,” Shanthakumar told TNM.
On Wednesday, thousands of farmers held protests in various taluks of Mandya and Mysuru, against the government’s inaction towards the woes of farmers.
“Over 2,000 farmers were detained by the police as we had blocked several national and state highways passing through Mandya and Mysuru. They are being released now. We cannot trust the government. They will release water for two to three days until the media’s attention is turned to some other story and they will stop supplying water. This has been the case for years now. Let them supply water. Based on the results, we will decide upon the further course of action,” Shantakumar added.