In a U-turn, state decides to release Cauvery water
Bengaluru (DHNS): In a reversal of its stand, the Siddaramaiah government on Monday opened the sluice gates of the reservoirs in the Cauvery basin allowing water to flow downstream.
At a day-long special session convened to discuss the Cauvery crisis, the state legislature, fearing the wrath of the Supreme Court, authorised the government in the form of a resolution to take an “appropriate decision” on releasing water.
Within hours of the legislature passing the unanimous resolution, the government took the necessary steps to release water. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, however, avoided stating that water would be released to Tamil Nadu. He also did not reveal the quantum or the duration.
The move is seen as a face-saving exercise by the ruling party as it had thrice defied the Supreme Court orders directing the state to release water to Tamil Nadu. The apex court had on Monday sought an explanation from Karnataka why its orders were not complied with so far.
Law Minister T B Jayachandra moved the resolution as soon as the Assembly met in the morning. “We are in a federal system. We have to comply with the court order.
We also have the responsibility to save the standing crops. Hence, I request the House to authorise the government to take appropriate decisions,” Siddaramaiah stated in the Assembly.
The BJP, which had earlier stated that the government should stick to the September 23 resolution of the legislature that 27.6 tmcft in the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin should be preserved only for drinking water purpose, later relented and supported the resolution. The JD(S), too, followed suit.
The BJP did not have much of an option as the government claimed in the same resolution that it would take steps to release water to protect the standing crops in the Cauvery basin.
However, there is no mention of Tamil Nadu in the entire resolution. The resolution mentions that the storage position in the four reservoirs has increased from 27.6 tmcft to 34.13 tmcft. It states that the government “after ensuring the drinking water requirements as resolved by the House on September 23, will take an appropriate decision regarding release of water to the crops of farmers in the best interest of the state”.
Siddaramaiah said water availability has increased by 6.05 tmcft in the past 10 days due to some rains in the catchment areas. The government has to release water to canals and crops. The standing crops on 4.26 lakh acres need an estimated 43 tmcft, he added.
“About 1,300 cusecs of water is flowing into Tamil Nadu every day. If water is released to canals (irrigation canals in the basin region), then additional 3,000 cusecs will flow down to the neighbouring state through seepage. The Supreme Court has asked to release 6,000 cusecs per day… But the government will not compromise as far as ensuring supply of drinking water is concerned,” he said.
DH News Service
SC can’t direct setting up of Cauvery board, says Centre In a volte-face, the Centre on Monday said the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to direct it to set up the Cauvery Management Board.
Seeking modification of the apex court’s orders of September 20 and 30, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi instead sought a direction to allow a high-powered technical team headed by Central Water Commission Chairman G S Jha to visit the entire 81,000-square kilometre Cauvery basin in 30 days to assess the ground realities.
The government had on September 30 assured the court that it would follow its order to set up the board by October 4 and submit a report by October 6.