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PM discusses Cauvery issue with Karnataka Cong leaders

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today held consultations with Congress leaders from Karnataka on sharing of Cauvery waters with Tamil Nadu during which they told him about the "grim" situation in the state.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Minister of State for Railways KH Munniyappa along with Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal met the Prime Minister at his South Block office here for an hour.

"We requested him to resolve the problem at the earliest...based on the report of the expert committee...He has to take a considered decision...The situation is very grim. That is why we have asked the Prime Minister to resolve the situation," Kharge told reporters after the meeting.

AFP

He said the party leaders also explained to Singh the drinking water situation, particularly in Bangalore, Mandya, Hassan and Mysore as well as the standing crops which are facing water scarcity.

Asked about the interests of Tamil Nadu being taken into account, he said the Prime Minister will look into the interests of "everybody."

"Rainy season is over in Cauvery basin in Karnataka. Monsoon will begin in Tamil Nadu. The priority has to be drinking water, whichever is the state. The Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) has to place the factual situation. Based on that the Prime Minister will take a decision," Muniyappa said.

A central team is visiting the two states and is likely to return today. The team will report to CMC which is meeting on 11 October to decide on the quantity of water to be released by Karnataka after 15 October.

The Cauvery River Authority, chaired by the Prime Minister, had recently directed Karnataka to release 9000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu between 20 September and 15 October on a daily basis. The future flow will be decided by the CMC.

Last week, Krishna had written to the Prime Minister requesting him to stop further release of water to Tamil Nadu and to seek a report from the team that has been deputed to assess the water situation.

Krishna had said the situation was grim in Cauvery irrigation areas and also in Bangalore following depleted water levels in dams after release of water.

The Union ministers, along with other leaders from Karnataka, are likely to meet Bansal this evening.

PTI