Karnataka legislature to decide on Cauvery water release to TN on Monday

"We will take a call on releasing water after the joint session of the legislature," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said.
Karnataka legislature to decide on Cauvery water release to TN on Monday
Karnataka legislature to decide on Cauvery water release to TN on Monday
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The Karnataka government on Saturday called a special joint legislative session on Monday to discuss and decide on the Supreme Court's order to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu from October 1-6.

"We will take a call on releasing water after the joint session of the legislature on Monday. We are also filing a review petition on Monday seeking modification of the Supreme Court's Friday order to release 6,000 cusecs per day for six days," said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah after a cabinet meeting in Bengaluru.

He also briefed his ministers on the views of other political parties expressed earlier at the all-party meeting, opposing release of water at any cost as per the September 23 unanimous resolution of the state legislature.

"As we are not in a position to release further water, the cabinet has decided to appeal to the apex court for modifying its September 30 order," said Siddaramaiah.

On the apex court's directive to the Union government for setting up the Cauvery Management Board, he said as the state's special review petition against constituting it was pending before the Supreme Court, the state government had requested the Union Water Resources Minister to rush an expert committee to assess the ground realities in both the states.

The chief minister, however, regretted that Uma Bharti could not decide on the state's request after Tamil Nadu vehemently opposed it.

Earlier in the evening, opposition parties urged the state government not to release water even if it meant disobeying the Supreme Court's fresh order.

"We have told the chief minister not to release water at any cost and abide by the state legislature's unanimous resolution to retain it only for drinking purpose," said former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, of the BJP, after the all-party meeting.

A division bench of the apex court on Friday directed the state to release 6,000 cusecs per day to Tamil Nadu for six days from October 1.

"There is no question of releasing water any more. We are with the government on this issue as unanimously decided by the state legislature last week (September 23) in the interests of the people," said former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, of the JD-S.

Asserting that the opposition parties were with the ruling Congress on upholding the resolution, JD-S lawmaker Y.S.V. Dutta told reporters later that the opposition leaders were even ready to go to jail with the chief minister.

Deficit monsoon rains in the catchment areas depleted the storage levels in the four reservoirs across the river basin to an all-time low of 27 tmc (thousand million cubic) feet, which is barely sufficient for supplying drinking water to the people in cities, towns and villages in the state's southern region.

The opposition parties also urged the state government to oppose the setting up of the Cauvery Management Board, as it would be detrimental to the state's interests.

"We have advised the government not to recommend any official's name to the centre as the state's member on the Board as we are against constituting it now," said Kumaraswamy.

The Bharatiya Janata Party also told the government to urge the central government not to set up the Board at this juncture as the state's petition challenging the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was pending before the Supreme Court.

"We will prevail upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to set up the Board, as the tribunal's various recommendations in its final award have been contested by the state in the apex court," Shettar told reporters.

The top court's Friday order to the Union government for setting up the Board by October 4 and its directive to the four riparian states, which also include Kerala and Puducherry, to send names of officials as their representatives were discussed at the all-party meeting.

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