Cauvery dispute: Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu farmers for crops, drinking purposes

After days of inconclusive meetings and violent uprisings, Karnataka on Monday decided to take steps which will ensure the release of water to Tamil Nadu, temporarily ending the Cauvery water dispute.

CNN-News18 reported that a resolution was passed in the Karnataka Assembly to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. However, the quantum of water is not specified as of yet.

ANI also reported that the resolution aimed at releasing water to farmers in Cauvery basin for their crops and drinking requirements.

The move comes after mounting pressure from the Supreme Court for defying its order, according to a report by The Times of India. The Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for three days. However, Karnataka government told the apex court that they were not in a position to release water and suggested that they would comply with the SC order by November.

The SC had given the "last opportunity" to the state to comply with its order. It had also warned Karnataka, saying "no one would know when the wrath of the law would fall on it."

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah during the special session. PTI

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah during the special session. PTI

The state cabinet had convened a special legislature session on Monday to discuss the release of Cauvery water.

"There was 27.60 TMC of water in the four reservoirs. On 23 September, we had decided only to release water for drinking purposes.  Now the storage has gone up to 34.13 TMC and the farmers in the Cauvery basin are requesting the state government to release water," said the statement according to an India Today report.

The Times of India quoted Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as saying, "There has been an inflow of 6 tmc ft of Cauvery water into the reservoirs in the last one week. We can keep 27 tmc ft of water for our drinking water requirements and release the excess water for agriculture," during the special session.

In his reply in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah gave strong indications of complying with the order of the Supreme Court to release water to Tamil Nadu, while assuring the people that government would make all efforts to meet drinking water needs and to save standing crops.

"The Supreme Court has said we have to release 6000 cusecs of water. We have to respect the court order. We are also expecting some quantum of water (rainfall)," he said without directly making any reference about release to Tamil Nadu, which is at loggerheads with the state on the issue.

He said that the state had never defied the court orders and noted that "we are in a federal set up". Farmers in the Cauvery basin had been demanding release of water as otherwise the crops would wither, he said, adding, once it is released for them, some quantum would flow naturally to Tamil Nadu, where it would be recorded in the Biligundlu gauging station.

Official sources said once water is released for farmers in Cauvery basin for irrigation, it would naturally flow to Tamil Nadu.

Earlier in the day, the political parties of the state had accused the Centre of "betraying" Karnataka by seeking modification of a SC order asking it to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board (CWMB).

The Centre had on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has no jurisdiction to direct it to set up the Cauvery Management Board as it was just a recommendation of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal and not binding on the government.

With inputs from agencies.

Updated Date: Oct 03, 2016 22:34 PM

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