Union Minister of Water Resources Uma Bharti on Thursday presided over a meeting convened by the Centre to find a political solution to the "impasse" over sharing of Cauvery water by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu PWD Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy took part in the meeting which was held in line with the Supreme Court's order asking Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to facilitate a meeting to reach a solution to the inter-state water crisis.
Karnataka Water Resources Minister MB Patil and chief secretaries of the two states Arvind Jadhav (Karnataka) and Rama Mohana Rao (Tamil Nadu) were present in the meeting.
Briefing the media after the meet, Uma Bharti said, "There was a request from Karnataka government to our ministry to form an expert committee to take view of the availability of water. I really appreciate that both the states are trying to find some solution. We have noted their views which will be sent to the Supreme Court."
She said that the she has urged the two states to sit together and solve the issue outside of the court and then approach the court with solution.
She also suggested that she is willing to go on a hunger strike if the the tension between the two states rises.
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Tearing into Karnataka for treating the Supreme Court orders on release of Cauvery water with "utter contempt", Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was quoted in a speech read out by Chief Secretary P Ramamohana Rao as saying that such "deliberate defiance" goes against the spirit of the Constitution and amounts to "contempt" of the Court.
He also said that Tamil Nadu has "scrupulously" adhered to every apex court order.
"By contrast, the state of Karnataka has treated the orders of the honourable Supreme Court with utter contempt. Successive orders of the honourable Supreme Court have been deliberately and systematically defied" by the neighbouring state, he said.
He said Jayalalithaa participated in the discussions "with the hope Tamil Nadu would get its legitimate share in Cauvery water".
"In utter disregard and in complete contempt of the orders of the honourable Supreme Court, Karnataka failed to release the stipulated quantity of water to Tamil Nadu and in addition, failed to make good the shortfall," as per its earlier orders, Rao said.
"This deliberate defiance goes against the spirit of the Constitution itself and amounts to contempt of the apex court. Karnataka has not followed the orders of the honourable Supreme Court and has on the other hand permitted unruly elements to create law and order issues," he said.
Commenting on the proceedings of the meet, Karnataka chief secretary Arvind Jadhav said, "There is no outcome of the Cauvery meeting chaired by Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti. Kanataka government suggested a visit by an expert team from Centre to verify the ground realities."
Prior to attending the meeting, Siddaramaiah reiterated Karnataka's "severe difficulties" in meeting its water requirement and expressed hope that the meeting would arrive at a solution which is in the interest of its people.
"22 of our districts have been declared drought-hit for the Kharip 2016 season. We are struggling with managing water requirements. We hope for a solution in state's interest," he said.
Ahead of the meeting, Karnataka had on Wednesday decided to defer release of 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court direction, awaiting outcome of the trilateral parleys.
With inputs from agencies