The Cauvery water war escalated on Tuesday as protests erupted after the Supreme Court ordered Karnataka to release 15,000 cusec a day for the next 10 days to Tamil Nadu.
In Tamil Nadu, farmers from the Delta region expressed unhappiness, claiming 15,000 cusec was inadequate for their farming needs and described it as “too little too late”.
In Karnataka’s Mandya region, farmers took to the streets against the apex court order and blocked roads in protest, threatening to launch a bigger agitation and block feeder canals to stop the supply of water to Tamil Nadu.
“When we are being given only drinking water and not a drop for irrigation, why should farmers in Tamil Nadu be given water to grow their crops. This is patently unjust and the Karnataka government must file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the decision,” said Mandya MLA MH Ambareesh.
A bandh was called by a pro-Kannada outfit on Monday, and thousands of police officers were deployed to monitor the situation.
Tamil Nadu state transport buses were halted at the Hosur Border Bus Stand due to protests in parts of Karnataka. Krishna Raja Sagara Dam and Brindavan Gardens were closed to the public for four days.
Hundreds of buses were taken off the roads in protest in the Bengaluru-Mysore section and between Chennai and Bengaluru. In Tanjavur, Karnataka state buses were vandalised, while many state transport buses remained out of service at Chennai’s CMBT bus terminus.
Protesters from Karantaka also burned effigies of Jayalalithaa and stopped all buses coming from Tamil Nadu. “We do not want to give even a drop of water to Tamil Nadu. The Karnataka government is to blame as it could not put the case of Karantaka farmers properly in the court,” a protesting farmer said.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah called an all-party meeting to discuss the Cauvery river water issue and the apex court’s order on the matter.
TB Jaychandra, Karnataka law minister, appealed to the public not to take law and order in their hands and to maintain peace.
“We know that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the country. We have to oblige to their orders. My appeal to public is not to resort to agitation and keep calm. They should cooperate with the state government,” Jaychandra told ANI.
Failure of legal team
Karnataka farmers are planning a massive bandh on September 9 against the decision of the apex court, questioning the poor performance of the state’s legal team — whom they blame for being unable to properly represent their case.
Before the SC order, at an all-party meet in Bengaluru as also in a meeting with farmers, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had asserted that “not a drop could be given to Tamil Nadu as our own state is facing deficient rainfall and we are giving water only for drinking purposes. We cannot give water for irrigation to another state”.
In contrast, political parties in Tamil Nadu welcomed the apex court’s decision and expressed hope that the court will ensure full justice by ensuring adequate water from the Cauvery in accordance with the river water tribunal’s order.
“It is the relentless battle that chief minister Jayalalithaa fought through the legal system that has borne fruit today,” said AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi.
She expressed hope that the central government would ensure justice to Tamil Nadu by impressing upon Karnataka to honour the court’s judgment and release water. “Tamil Nadu is hoping for more relief from the Supreme Court,” Saraswathi added.
DMK spokesperson TKS Elangovan too lauded the SC decision and said it would help farmers.
- Feb 5, 2007: After 16 years, Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal holds as valid the two agreements of 1892 and 1924 executed between the governments of Madras and Mysore on the apportionment of water to Tamil Nadu
The final award makes an annual allocation of 419 tmcft to Tamil Nadu in the entire Cauvery basin, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry out of the total 740 TMC available in the Cauvery basin in a normal year.
All states file clarificatory petitions in SC seeking greater clarity on tribunal award.
- Sept 19, 2012: At the seventh meeting of the CRA, Manmohan Singh directs Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu at Biligundlu. Both the CMs — Jayalalithaa and Jagadish Shettar — term it "unacceptable". This is the first CRA meet since the UPA came to power at the Centre in 2004.
- Sept 28, 2012: The Supreme Court slams the Karnataka government for not complying with the PM’s direction.
- Feb 29, 2013: The Centre notifies the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT). The Central government was mandated to constitute the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) simultaneously with the gazette notification of the final award of the Tribunal dated February 19.
- March 10, 2013: The Tamil Nadu chief minister says she will work for the formation of the Cauvery Water Board during a felicitation ceremony organised in Thanjavur for her efforts to get the final award notified in the Union gazette.
- March 19, 2013: Tamil Nadu moves the Supreme Court to give directions to the water ministry for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
- May 28, 2013: Tamil Nadu moves Supreme Court, seeking Rs 2,480 crore in damages from Karnataka for not following the orders of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
- June 1, 2013: The Union water resources secretary chairs the first meeting of the supervisory committee in which Tamil Nadu demanded its share of water for June as stipulated in the award.
- June 2, 2013: Water cannot be released as and when TN demands, says Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.
- June 6, 2013: Karnataka says it cannot release 134 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu between June and September.
- June 12, 2013: The Cauvery Supervisory Committee terms as not "feasible" Tamil Nadu’s plea for direction to Karnataka for release of Cauvery water.
- June 14, 2013: Tamil Nadu decides to file contempt plea against Karnataka for its stand on the Cauvery Supervisory Committee.
- June 15, 2013: Chief minister Jayalaithaa says the Tamil Nadu government will approach the Supreme Court for the formation of the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulatory Authority.
- June 26, 2013: Contending that the setting up of a supervisory committee had become a futile exercise, Tamil Nadu moves SC for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.
- June 28, 2013: Tamil Nadu files contempt petition in the Supreme Court against Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah for his defiant stand against the Supervisory Committee
- July 15, 2013: Karnataka and Tamil Nadu clash during the third meeting of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee over the latter’s share of the river water. While Tamil Nadu sought 34 tmcft in July and 50 tmcft in August to save the Samba crop, Karnataka says that it had already released 34 tmcft between June and July 13.
- August 2016: Tamil Nadu asks the Supreme Court to direct Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu after Siddaramiah says there is no water in the reservoirs.
- Sept 6, 2016: SC directs Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs a day till Sept 15. Protests break out in Karnataka