Bowing to the Supreme Court's directive, Karnataka has begun releasing Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, thus avoiding contempt of court. Chief minister Jagadish Shettar thereafter flew to New Delhi Friday morning to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and central water resources minister Harish Rawat to seek relief for the state.
The apex court had on Wednesday directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water daily to the neighbouring state till Sunday. Shettar on Thursday ordered release of water though the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular parties had urged him not to do so even if it meant facing contempt of court charges.
Karnataka has been pleading with the apex court as well as the central and Tamil Nadu governments that it is not in a position to spare water in view of the severe drought in the state this year.
However, with Tamil Nadu also pleading for water to save paddy crops in the Cauvery belt in that state, the apex court ordered Karnataka to release water and directed that the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) meet Thursday or Friday to find a solution to the dispute.
The CMC comprises central water resources secretary and chief secretaries of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, as all have a share in the Cauvery water.
With protests against water release continuing in the Cauvery belt in Karnataka, chief minister Shettar flew to New Delhi on Friday morning to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat to seek relief for the state.
The Prime Minister heads the Cauvery River Authority made up of the chief ministers of the three states and the union territory.
Shettar held a meeting at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi with central ministers - Mallikarjun Kharge, K. Rahman Khan and K.H. Muniyappa - from the state and several parliament members to seek their views ahead of the meeting with Manmohan Singh and Rawat.
He told reporters after the meeting that his government was exploring all legal options to protest the state's interests.
Shettar ordered release of water though the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular parties had urged him not to do so even if it meant facing contempt of court.
The two parties had on Thursday stalled assembly proceedings demanding a categorical assurance from the Bharatiya Janata Party government that Cauvery water for Tamil Nadu will not be released at any cost.