Though the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 2.44 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, the state is unlikely to follow the orders immediately, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar indicated.
"It (directive to release water forthwith) is a matter of serious concern," Shettar told the state assembly soon after the apex court ordered Karnataka to release 2.44 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu for irrigating standing crops in that state.
"Myself and Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai will fly to Delhi in a special plane later today (Thursday) to consult our legal experts on what needs to be done (to protect Karnataka's interests)," he said, replying to a brief discussion on the apex court order.
The court passed its order today after receiving the report of the expert committee that had visited the Tamil Nadu part in the delta region and recommended that 2.44 tmc water be released for the standing crop.
Brushing aside Tamil Nadu's objections, the court said: "According to you, whatever you say should be accepted as gospel truth and the order be passed accordingly."
The court's strong observation came in the wake of Tamil Nadu objecting to the expert committee report and saying that it was not based on objective grounds.
Appearing for Tamil Nadu earlier this week, senior counsel CS Vaidvanathan sought 9 tmc of water for the state's standing crops spread over six lakh hectares of land.
He said one-third of the crops spread over three lakh hectares of land had perished due to drought and the remaining crop in six lakh hectares area needed to be irrigated twice to save it.
Senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, contended that 40 per cent of standing crops had been harvested and the rest was about to be harvested. Thus, Tamil Nadu needed no water for irrigation.
Shettar and earlier Bommai had told the house that in the past the Supreme Court directives were accompanied by a schedule to release the water over a period of time.
"This time the order is for forthwith release and this is of grave concern," Bommai said as opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular members demanded that the state government take all steps to get the directive rescinded.
Both Shettar and Bommai refuted the opposition attack that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had failed to provide to the Supreme Court full details of the grave shortage of water Karnataka was facing following failure of monsoon.