The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Karnataka to continue to release 2,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu till further orders. The new bench, which was set up to hear all issues related to the water-sharing dispute all over again, urged both the states to ensure that peace and harmony is maintained, ANI reported. The matter was adjourned till Wednesday, October 19.

On October 4, the Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of water from the river to Tamil Nadu every day from October 7 to 18. A day later, the Centre had set up a high-level technical team on the court's instructions to look into the ground reality in the Cauvery river basin.

To decide on the quantum of Cauvery water Karnataka must release, the apex court took into consideration the report submitted by the team, which had found that both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu faced water shortage. The Centre-appointed team also said that 42 of the 48 taluks in the river basin in Karnataka were drought-affected.

The panel had inspected the Krishnaraja Sagar and the Kabini dams in Karnataka and the Mettur and Bhavani Sagar dams in Tamil Nadu between October 7 and 15. Members of the team – headed by Chairperson of the Central Water Commission GS Jha and formed by the Ministry of Water Resources – spoke with officials of local Public Works Departments and farmers in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam.

The Cauvery water-sharing dispute snowballed into a big issue after the Supreme Court, on September 5, directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water 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. While Karnataka had earlier defied Supreme Court orders and decided against releasing water to Tamil Nadu, it released 6,000 cusecs of water to the neighbouring state late on October 3.

Meanwhile, protests by political leaders and farmers continue to rock Tamil Nadu for the second day. Several political parties and farmer groups on Monday started a two-day-long rail roko demonstration. On Tuesday, the police detained Tamil Maanila Congress leader GK Vasan and scores of farmers for staging demonstrations, reported PTI. The administration has deployed a huge police force at railway stations to prevent any untoward incident.