The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed it earlier order to the Centre to set up a Cauvery Water Management Board and directed Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water from the river to Tamil Nadu every day from October 7 to 18. The direction came as Karnataka informed the court that it will comply with its September 30 order to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water every day to the neighbouring state from October 1 to 6. The decision was made after the top court warned the state of consequences if it continued to defy its orders.
On October 3, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had moved the Supreme Court, challenging its September 30 order to the central government to constitute the panel. He had argued that the matter fell under the ambit of the state legislatures. Earlier in the day, MPs from Tamil Nadu's All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office, urging the Centre to set up the board at the earliest, IANS reported.
Moreover, the chairman of the Central Water Committee will lead a team to survey the ground reality in both states and submit a report on October 18, the next scheduled date for a hearing in the matter, ANI reported.
Karnataka began to release water to parts of the Cauvery river basin, including parts of Tamil Nadu, late on Monday. In a special Assembly session on Monday night, the state decided to do some damage control and release some water to its neighbour, although authorities did not specify the quantity that would be released.
The Karnataka Assembly decided to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu after the level of water in its four reservoirs rose to 34.13 TMC. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said it prompted the House to pass a resolution to meet farmers' request for water. On September 23, the Assembly had agreed to release only drinking water to farmers in the region when the reservoirs had only 27.6 TMC of water.
On October 1, the Karnataka government had filed a review petition challenging the apex court's order, which it said violated the National Water Policy of 2012. The policy allows Karnataka to prioritise the use of Cauvery water for its own drinking water purposes. Siddaramaiah had urged the Centre to play a "greater and more proactive" role to resolve the interstate water-sharing dispute.
The Cauvery issue escalated after the Supreme Court, on September 5, directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water from the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu. It later modified its verdict and reduced the quantity to 12,000 cusecs, but the order had led to widespread protests by farmers in Karnataka, who had argued that the state needed the water more than its neighbour.