Bengaluru: Karnataka government on Saturday welcomed the reported statement of Union Minister Uma Bharti about intervening in the Cauvery river water dispute, if necessary, but demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiate the process to solve the long-pending issue.
"If she has given the gesture that she will intervene (to resolve the vexed Cauvery dispute), we welcome it. It (steps) will be towards solving the problem," Karnataka Law Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters here.
His response was to a question about reports quoting Uma Bharti as saying that the Centre would intervene in the Cauvery matter if necessary.
Asked about Tamil Nadu not even looking at a compromise solution, he said "Let's suppose it is initiated by the Prime Minister. We are in the first stage, let the Prime Minister initiate that.... then let us see the response of Tamil Nadu."
Jayachandra also appealed to the BJP MPs from the state to take up the issue with the Prime Minister.
To a question that the consistent demand for the Prime Minister's intervention was politicising the issue further, he recalled that the PM had earlier on one occasion intervened on Supreme Court advice. It has to be done now also to solve the vexed issue, which needs to be resolved through an out-of-court settlement, he said.
"When the Supreme Court advised the then Prime Minister to intervene, it happened then. Now to resolve this, these are all to be settled out of court," he said.
"However, whether they are coming (intervening) or not again is the question. Injustice has been done to the state from Britishers' period. It is a long-pending and almost 200 year old dispute," Jayachandra said.
Asked about changing Fali Nariman as the state's counsel, he said he wouldn't like to react as the matter was coming up for final hearing on October 16 before the Court.
"I don't want to react to that because the matter is coming up for the final hearing on 16 October. The Supreme Court has specifically said it will be listed on that day. So let us hope for the best," he said.
To a query, Jayachandra said the state must have filed the plea to counter Tamil Nadu's submission before the Cauvery Supervisory Committee, asking for release of more water.
"Our legal and technical team, they are in Delhi. They must have filed a response to the Tamil Nadu government before the Supervisory Committee also, and it is likely to come up on Monday (12 September) when the meeting takes place," he said.
Tamil Nadu government had approached the Committee on 7 September with its demand for more water.
Karnataka had also written to the panel to send an expert inspection team headed by an officer of the rank of a chief engineer as done by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee in October 2012, to study ground realities in the Cauvery basin. Jayachandra said a plea has been filed before the Apex Court for modification of the order on the basis of Karnataka going through the times of distress.
The Supreme Court on 5 September had directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days to meet the demands of the summer crop in the state.