Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said the state will once again file a petition before the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) expressing its inability to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu.
The CWRC on Tuesday recommended that Karnataka release 5,000 cusecs of water every day for the next 15 days to the neighbouring state.
The Chief Minister, who today held a “special emergency meeting” following the CWRC recommendations, said the government will consult its legal team regarding releasing water and take a decision, and will also once again file a petition in the Supreme Court explaining the situation on the ground.
“…Let’s see what they will do, based on that we will once again file a petition in the Supreme Court and we will try to inform the court the factual situation on the ground,” Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting here, he said, “In the meanwhile we will discuss with the legal team whether to release 5,000 cusec per day or not. Deputy Chief Minister (D K) Shivakumar is going to Delhi to discuss with the legal team on this and also regarding filing a petition. Keeping all this in mind, we will make a decision afterwards.”
Other than Shivakumar, who is also Minister incharge of Water Resources, Ministers of the Cauvery basin region, former Chief Ministers of all parties, senior Ministers of the state cabinet, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members were invited to participate in the emergency meeting.
However, former Chief Ministers — B S Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai of the BJP and H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) — did not attend the meeting citing prior commitments. While MPs like — BJP’s Pratap Simha, P C Mohan, Shivkumar Udasi, and Sumalatha Ambareesh (Independent) — participated.
Noting that the meeting was called following the CWRC’s recommendation to release water, the Chief Minister said, whether Cauvery or any other inter-state disputes, all parties have taken an unanimous stand so far, and have not indulged in politics on the issues of land, water, language and state’s borders.
He said he has explained the legal implications at the meeting, amid demands from various quarters not to release water.
Pointing out that the CWRC is a recommendatory body and has only made a recommendation, Siddaramaiah said, the state is going to appeal to them stating that Karnataka is not in a position to release water as there is no (adequate) water for crops and for drinking purposes.
He said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking time to lead an all-party delegation, but there has been no response so far. “I will once again write another letter to the PM explaining to him about the factual position on ground, if he gives time, we will go and meet him.”
MPs have also said that they too will exert pressure on the Centre, the CM said. Noting that Parliament session is starting from September 18, he said the government is thinking about calling a meeting of state’s MPs and central Ministers from Karnataka there during the session.
“On the whole we want to inform about our situation to the whole country, Supreme Court, CWRC and Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA). It is not our intention not to release water, but the situation is that there is no water– we want to make people and all concerned understand this,” he said, adding, representatives of all the parties who attended the meeting have agreed to this.
Siddaramaiah today also wrote to Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, expressing the state’s inability to release water to Tamil Nadu.
“Considering the prevailing drought conditions in the taluks of Cauvery river basin in Karnataka, the availability of water in the reservoirs as of today and drinking water for human and livestock, industrial and irrigation requirements from this month to the end of water year, Karnataka is not in a position to release any more water from its reservoirs,” the letter said.
Highlighting the distress situation in the state with facts and figures, in comparison to the ground situation in Tamil Nadu, the CM told the union minister that, the decision of CWRC cannot be practically implemented without endangering the interests of the farmers for irrigation and human and livestock depending upon the Cauvery river system for drinking water.
“Therefore, it is requested to move the CWMA to consider the pleadings of Karnataka and to review the decision of CWRC…. so that Karnataka is relieved of the burden and to safeguard the interests of the farmers and people in this drought affected year,” it added.
The matter is next going to come before the CWMA, in a couple of days, and Shivakumar on Tuesday said that Karnataka will vehemently put forward its stand before it.
The CWMA had earlier directed Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs water daily to Tamil Nadu for 15 days from August 29, based on the recommendation of the CWRC.
Stating that Karnataka has explained the factual ground situation in both states and its inability to release water, to CWRC, but still it has made such a recommendation, Siddaramaiah in response to a question from reporters on whether he will speak to Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin on the issue, asked, “What’s the benefit speaking to him?” However, he subsequently said, he will discuss the suggestion with the legal team.
Pointing out that the state faced a huge rainfall deficit in August and there had not been such shortfall in 123 years, Siddaramaiah said, this led to shortage of water in reservoirs, because of which the state is not in a position to release water as per the orders of the Supreme Court, which had ordered to release 177.25 TMC water to Tamil Nadu in a normal year.
“As there is no water in our reservoirs this year, we have till September 11 only released 37.7 TMC water, while we had to actually release more than 99 TMC by then. To save our standing crops we are now not able to release water fully,” he said.
“We need 70 TMC water for crops, 33 TMC for drinking water, 3 TMC for industry. So on the whole we need 106 TMC water, but what we have is only 53 TMC from four reservoirs in Cauvery basin — KRS, Kabini, Hemavati and Harangi — so it is not enough and that is why I said, we are not in a position to release water to Tamil Nadu,” he added.
Shivakumar, on his part, highlighted that the distress formula on water sharing that is to be followed during the distress year is not in place yet.
Tamil Nadu had recently approached the Supreme Court with a plea to direct Karnataka to release Cauvery water for the standing crops. According to sources, the case may come up before SC next week.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)