Karnataka to move SC over directive to release 3,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to TN

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in a press statement following a meeting with legal experts, said there would be contempt of court only when the order is deliberately disobeyed.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, Deputy CM DK Shivakumar and Law Minister HK Patil
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah, Deputy CM DK Shivakumar and Law Minister HK PatilTwitter
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The Karnataka government has decided to file a petition with both the management board and the Supreme Court, following a directive from the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to follow its prior order asking the state to release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu. The decision comes in the wake of the CWMA’s endorsement of the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)’s directive, which called for the water release. 

Addressing a press conference at his home office ‘Krishna’ after a meeting with retired Supreme Court judges and former Advocate Generals of the state, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Karnataka lacks the capacity to fulfil the water release to Tamil Nadu. He indicated that the state’s stance will be presented before the court and, if necessary, a special legislative session will be convened to discuss the matter. On a question whether the state government stand would be contempt of court, he said that there would be contempt of court only when the order is deliberately disobeyed.

During the CWMA meeting in Delhi, Additional Chief Secretary (Water Resources) Rakesh Singh implored the Authority to take into consideration the current storage levels in Karnataka's reservoirs, which are deemed insufficient for both irrigation and drinking purposes. The state further appealed for a review of the CWRC's directive to release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from September 29 for a period of 15 days.

Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, insisted on a release of 12,500 cusecs, which includes a backlog of 12.5 TMC. After thorough deliberations, the CWMA directed to address the shortfall of previous directives and endorsed the CWRC's order for a release of 3,000 cusecs until October 15.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah highlighted the challenging water situation, stating that under normal circumstances, Karnataka is required to release 177.25 TMC of water annually. However, the state's needs are much higher at 284.85 TMC. Insufficient rainfall in August exacerbated the situation, with the state continuing to face a deficit. In contrast, Tamil Nadu received adequate rains in September, resulting in the flow of 43 TMC of water to the state.

At the press conference, the CM also congratulated the public for their cooperation, and the organisations for ensuring a peaceful bandh. He also appreciated the officers who maintained law and order well, so that no untoward incident took place anywhere in the state.

Siddaramaiah also said that experts have suggested forming an expert advisory committee to the government exclusively regarding the irrigation projects of the state. The committee should advise the government and provide information to the legal team about inter-state water disputes, he said, adding that action will be taken accordingly. The CM also said a special session of the Legislature will be called if an occasion arises. 

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, Home Minister G Parameshwara, Law Minister HK Patil, Agriculture Minister Cheluvarayaswamy, Chief Minister’s Political Secretary Govindaraju, Political Advisor Naseer Ahmed, and Legal Advisor Ponnanna were present in the meeting.

With IANS inputs

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