Cauvery dispute: Karnataka defends release of water to Tamil Nadu as ‘balancing act’
Though Karnataka released 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, it has urged Cauvery Water Management Authority to review its order
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on Friday (August 18) defended the decision to release Cauvery river water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, calling it a “balancing act” even as he said the state has written to the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) requesting it to review the order.
Highlighting reduced rains and scarcity of water in the Cauvery basin, he said the CWMA has directed the state to release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu on a daily basis for the next 15 days.
“There are court orders, there are orders regarding how the distress formula works. Protecting our farmers’ interests is a big responsibility for me. Legislators from Mandya may protest against the release of water (to TN)...also, we can’t give everything to Tamil Nadu, the government will have to do a balancing act,” Shivakumar, who is also Water Resources Minister said.
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Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said, “We have written to the authority on Thursday, requesting it to review its decision to release 10,000 cusecs of water per day for 15 days to Tamil Nadu, because there is less rains, there is scarcity of water even for drinking, leave aside agriculture. Tamil Nadu has utilised water for crops, the water we release from here is taking five to six days to reach there, but still they have used.”
Tamil Nadu on Monday approached the Supreme Court with a plea to direct Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily for standing crops.
Following this, Shivakumar had on Tuesday said Karnataka would release 10 tmcft of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, while maintaining that the state doesn’t have sufficient water in dams to meet its requirements like drinking water and agriculture, due to deficit monsoon.
Taking strong exception to the Karnataka government’s decision to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, the Opposition BJP and JD(S) on Thursday had accused the Congress dispensation of “betraying” the people of the state and its farmers for the sake of politics and to save its INDIA bloc ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK is a part of the Opposition bloc.
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Responding to it, Shivakumar said, “Should I give the list regarding the quantum of water released during the BJP and JD(S) governments in the past, during such a situation? I don't want to do politics.” He added, “We will surely call an all-party meeting depending on the situation. We have already planned to call a meeting on Mahadayi, Krishna and Cauvery river water disputes and seek the Opposition’s suggestions.”
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday had urged the government to call an all-party meeting on the Cauvery issue.
(With agency inputs)