The Karnataka Cabinet has decided not to release water from the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Wednesday. The decision came after Siddaramaiah held an all-party meeting to discuss the Supreme Court’s latest order in the matter, in which it directed the state to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to September 27, according to PTI.
Siddaramaiah has said the state cabinet has requested governor VR Vala to convene both the Houses on Friday to further discuss the matter.
The Bharatiya Janata Party had earlier said it would boycott the meeting. Its Karnataka unit chief, BS Yeddyurappa, had said the meeting would serve little purpose and that Siddaramaiah needed to convene a special session of the state Assembly to discuss the water dispute between the two states, The Hindu reported. He added that Karnataka would not have any water to drink if it released 6,000 cusecs every day.
Meanwhile, Central Water Commission Chairperson GS Jha said water managements boards such as the one between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were the ideal option for resolving water-sharing disputes. He also emphasised the need for storage and conservation facilities to ensure water security around the country. In its order, the Supreme Court had also asked the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Management Board within four weeks.
Siddaramaiah had called Tuesday’s court order un-implementable and had said that the state government would decide on a course of action after consulting with various party leaders and legal experts. The chief minister also appealed for peace and assured the public of his government’s “commitment” to protect the Karnataka’s interests, even as security across the state was increased in anticipation of protests against the apex court order.
Initially, the Supreme Court had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water from the river to Tamil Nadu, but it later modified its order and reduced the quantity to 12,000 cusecs. The court verdict had led to widespread protests carried out by farmers in Karnataka, who argued that the state needed the water more that its neighbour. Tamil Nadu had also held a bandh on September 16, with farmers’ and traders’ bodies saying Tamilians had been targeted by Kannadiga protestors.