Karnataka started releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu on Wednesday in compliance with the Supreme Court directive asking it to release 15,000 cusecs per day to the neighbouring state for 10 days, a state water resources ministry official told PTI.
Meanwhile, protesters intensified their agitation in Mandya district and other parts of the state, blocking several roads and forcing schools and colleges to shut down.
Complying with the Supreme Court direction, the state government on Tuesday agreed to release water despite “severe hardships”.
The court order caused an immediate backlash, with agitated farmers and activists belonging to pro-Kannada outfits blocking the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway.
Mandya district, the nucleus of Cauvery politics, saw a bandh on Tuesday, with protesters setting up road blockades and staging dharnas at several places even as hundreds of security personnel — including central forces — were deployed in the Cauvery belt to maintain law and order.
“Despite severe hardships faced by the government of Karnataka, the state will release water as directed by the Supreme Court,” chief minister Siddaramaiah had told reporters after a nearly three-hour all-party meeting convened by him here on Tuesday.
Siddaramaiah had also said the government would approach the apex court with a modification petition, explaining its difficulties in implementing the order.
Noting that the ‘samba’ crops in Tamil Nadu would be adversely affected, an apex court bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit directed Karnataka to ensure supply of water to Tamil Nadu.