Cannot release more water to Tamil Nadu: Karnataka agriculture minister
The minister further expressed hope that the state would get a favourable verdict from the Supreme Court.
Bengaluru: Karnataka is not in a position to release any more water to Tamil Nadu, state agriculture minister N Cheluvarayaswamy said on Wednesday.
Hours after the Supreme Court deferred the verdict on the petition filed by Tamil Nadu demanding the release of more water from the Cauvery river to September 21, he said that the state is contemplating to stop the release of water until next hearing. The minister added that the matter will be taken up by chief minister Siddaramaiah.
“We are not in a position to release more water, and the verdict has been reserved for September (21). I will hold a discussion with the chief minister and water resources minister [DK Shivakumar]. Yesterday [Tuesday], even they had suggested approaching the [Cauvery Water Management] Authority with a submission that we are unable to release more water. We will also discuss with the legal team what further steps need to be taken,” he told reporters in Mandya.
He further expressed hope that the state would get a favourable verdict from the Supreme Court and said that water cannot be released until the verdict is announced. “We hope the Supreme Court verdict will be good, but since it is postponed now, we are not in a position to release water until then,” said the agriculture minister.
Former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the state has failed to present its case in Cauvery Water Management. “The Mekedatu project has been in demand for centuries. During our period, Congress people campaigned for it on multiple occasions but they are not acting on it now. Now, Siddaramaiah is saying that the case is in court. The truth came out of his mouth. Now there is a high demand for irrigation in both the states. Demand for water has increased for both the states,” he said.
The Mekedatu project is a multipurpose project that involves the construction of a balancing reservoir near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district, that will serve the both the purposes of providing drinking water and power generation. However, Tamil Nadu has raised objections to the project, expressing concerns about its potential impact on the state.
Pro-Kannada organisations have continued their protest against release of water to Tamil Nadu. The protestors held a rolling protest at Sanjay Circle in Mandya. The protestors were demanding the government to stop releasing the Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu after the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) passed an interim order asking Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily.
Meanwhile, the prediction of rain in various parts of the state has given hope to the people of several districts that are suffering from drought-like conditions. Meteorologists say that the monsoon is expected to revive across the state. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) scientist A. Prasad mentioned that there is no system formation, however, most parts of Karnataka will experience rainfall till September 8. “For the next 48 hours, rain/thundershowers are likely to occur at many places over north interior Karnataka, coastal Karnataka, and a few places over south interior Karnataka. Bengaluru and surrounding areas will experience light to moderate rain,” he said.
On Monday, the state’s revenue minister, Krishna Byre Gowda, announced that as many as 62 taluks in Karnataka are facing drought as per norms set by the central government.