The Karnataka government will challenge before the Supreme Court the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’s direction to release 3,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday, reported PTI.
The committee directed Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water from September 28 to October 15. While Tamil Nadu had sought 12,000 cusecs of water, its request was denied.
In its submission, Karnataka had told the panel that 161 talukas in the state were severely drought-affected and 34 talukas are moderately drought-affected.
After the commission gave its direction, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar had expressed satisfaction and said: “Rejection of Tamil Nadu’s application has made me happy.”
However, Siddaramaiah said on Wednesday that he discussed the direction with the state’s legal team, which opined that it should be challenged in the Supreme Court.
“We are challenging the order of the regulation committee before the Supreme Court,” said the chief minister. “We do not have water to give.”
A bandh was observed in Bengaluru on Tuesday against the government’s decision to release water from the Cauvery River to Tamil Nadu.
Karnataka Jala Samrakshana Samiti, an umbrella outfit of farmers’ associations, and other organisations led by farmer leader Kuruburu Shanthakumar had given the call for the bandh between 6 am to 6 pm.
The protests began after the Supreme Court, on September 21, upheld an order of the Cauvery Water Management Authority, directing the Karnataka government to release 5,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu till September 27.
Tamil Nadu had demanded an increase in its current share of Cauvery river water from 5,000 cusecs per day to 7,200 cusecs per day. However, the Supreme Court had refused its petition.
Karnataka had told the top court at the time that the management authority’s order for supplying 5,000 cusecs of water every day was “against the interest” of the state, but was still being complied with.
The distribution of Cauvery water has been a long-standing dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It dates back to two agreements in 1892 and 1924 between the erstwhile Madras Presidency and the Princely State of Mysore.
The Union government set up the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in 1990, which delivered its verdict in 2007. The tribunal allocated 419 thousand million cubic feet of water per year to Tamil Nadu and 270 thousand million cubic feet of water to Karnataka.
However, this did not settle the dispute as both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka filed petitions to review the decision.
The Supreme Court in February 2018 asked the Centre to set up the Cauvery Water Management Authority within a month to implement the tribunal’s verdict.