The Kasturi Karnataka Janapara Vedike accused the government of being insensitive to the needs of the state’s farmers.

Pro-Karnataka group threatens hunger strike over release of Cauvery water to TNRepresentational image
news Cauvery Sunday, July 09, 2017 - 19:57

Members of a pro-Karnataka group have threatened to go on a hunger strike from Monday against the Karnataka government's decision to release Cauvery water from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam to Tamil Nadu. The Karnataka government’s decision is in compliance with directions from the Supreme Court.

The Kasturi Karnataka Janapara Vedike, which has been protesting in Maddur since Friday, has been demanding release of water for the agricultural needs of the region. Its members allege that the Karnataka government is completely insensitive towards the needs of the state’s farmers.

“If the government has any concern for the farmers of the state, it should immediately stop releasing water to the neighbouring state. The authorities must, instead, take measures to fill lakes in the region. If the government fails to stop the release of water before Monday, the Vedike would launch a hunger strike,” Vedike president K Rameshgowda told reporters on Saturday.

In a separate demonstration, members of the Gram Panchayat Okkutta also staged a protest in Srirangapatna near the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway. The protesters shouted slogans against the state government and the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam.

The protests on Sunday come even as popular anger  against the government has been building. On July 2, protesters had blocked a part of the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway in Mandya over the issue.

Those protests were called off after state Irrigation Minister MB Patil told the protesters that the state government had to adhere to the Supreme Court order.  

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government told the apex court on July 5 that Karnataka had supplied nearly 6 TMC ft less Cauvery water than it was supposed to over the previous 25 days.  While it was supposed to supply around 22.5 TMC ft in that period, it had only supplied 16.58 TMC ft to Tamil Nadu.  

Read: Cauvery dispute: K’taka supplied 6 TMC less water for the last 25 days, TN tells SC

TN’s submission came in the context of the SC’s orders in October 2016 for Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu. The SC had reiterated these orders on January 4 and again on March 21.

The apex court is hearing cross-petitions by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka – both challenging the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award which granted Tamil Nadu 419 TMC ft of Cauvery water, Karnataka 270 TMC ft, Kerala 30 TMC ft, and Puducherry 7 TMC ft. The court is set to hold final hearings in the matter on July 11.

With Karnataka facing multiple successive years of drought, public sentiment over the Cauvery issue has been fierce. In September last year, massive protests erupted in Bengaluru and elsewhere, with attacks on Tamil establishments and vehicles with TN registration plates.