Karnataka braces for crucial Cauvery meetings
Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, however, is confident of the state convincing the apex court that it has not committed any contempt.
Bangalore: Karnataka braced itself for crucial meetings over Cauvery water row on Thursday and Friday even as union Power Minister M Veerappa Moily, who hails from the state, on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide immediate relief to the state. "Depletion of water on the Karnataka side will further deteriorate the situation. It is but natural that farmers are very much agitated in view of the depleting water situation on account of the release (to Tamil Nadu)," Moily said in a letter to Manmohan Singh.
Moily urged the prime minister to review the September 19 ruling he gave as head of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from September 20 to Oct 15. He is the second central minister from Karnataka to formally write to the prime minister to review the September 19 order.
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna last week wrote to Manmohan Singh saying "the entire state is waiting with bated breath to get immediate relief as otherwise it will spell disaster for the population in the Cauvery basin (on Karnataka side)". Moily's appeal to the prime minister came ahead of Thursday's meeting of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee comprising officials of the central government and Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, all of which have a share in the Cauvery water.
The September 19 order could be reviewed either by "Cauvery Monitoring Committee or by convening a meeting of CRA, consisting of the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala," he said in the letter released to the media. The CMC meeting outcome would have a bearing on the stand that Karnataka would take Oct 12 when the Supreme Court resumes hearing its petition to allow it stop water release. It would also influence the decision the prime minister may take on Karnataka's appeal to him to stay his September 19 directive.
Karnataka, which was releasing 9,000 cusecs daily to Tamil Nadu from September 29, stopped it late on Monday (October 8), prompting the neighbouring state to file contempt of court petition in the apex court. Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, however, is confident of the state convincing the apex court that it has not committed any contempt.
He told reporters here Wednesday that the water release was stopped only after informing the Supreme Court Monday that the state was in no position to continue it. Shettar again criticized the prime minister's September 19 directive saying "it is an injustice to Karnataka" as "the decision was taken without any proper discussion".
He had walked out of the meeting protesting the directive to release water to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka has been arguing that is has been hit by worst drought in 40 years and water in the reservoirs across Cauvery was just enough to meet irrigation and drinking water purposes till next June when the four-month monsoon season starts. Meanwhile protests in Bangalore and Cauvery basin district of Mandya, 80 km away, subsided. There was no road blockade which had become a daily affair in Mandya since September 30.