Protests rock Karnataka over release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu
Farmers in Karnataka’s Mandya stage a protest against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Photo: ANI/Twitter

Protests rock Karnataka over release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu

Various farmers’ bodies staged demonstrations in Mysuru, Mandya and Chamarajanagar in Cauvery heartland against the government’s move

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Protests have erupted in southern Karnataka against the state’s release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu in compliance with the directives of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA).

Various farmers’ bodies staged demonstrations in Mysuru, Mandya and Chamarajanagar in Cauvery heartland against the government’s move; the BJP accused the Congress government of “doing nothing” to protect the interests of Karnataka.

The opposition party also charged the government with not taking up legal battle properly against the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government as the party there in power is a key ally in the newly formed INDIA bloc, where Congress is a key player.

Karnataka releases 5,000 cusecs of water to TN

The Karnataka government on Wednesday started releasing 5,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water to Tamil Nadu following the CWMA’s August 28 directive to it.

Previously, the CWMA had ordered Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water every day. After releasing it for a few days initially, Karnataka again approached the CWMA, saying there was no adequate rainfall in the Cauvery basin.

Taking Karnataka’s point of view into consideration, the CWMA directed the government to ensure that 5,000 cusecs of water reaches Biligundlu just at the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu daily.

Karnataka farmers, especially from districts in and around Cauvery and Kabini river and Krishnaraja Sagar dam in Mysuru have been staging protests since Thursday.

Farmers take to streets

Farmers in Mandya took out a march raising slogans against the Congress government, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, who holds the Water Resources portfolio.

In Srirangapatna, farmers staged a “shirtless” protest. Standing in the Cauvery river, they held the water in their palm and raised slogans blaming the state government for taking an “anti-farmers stand”.

Similar protests were staged by farmers in Chamarajanagar district.

Reacting to the release of water, former chief minister B S Yediyurappa wondered why Tamil Nadu was exerting pressure on Karnataka to release more water when there was no crisis in the neighbouring state.

“Today we have a water crisis and the KRS dam is getting empty. In this situation, releasing water to Tamil Nadu is not possible. Tamil Nadu has sufficient water. I don’t know why they are exerting pressure (on us). We will support the government’s stand,” Yediyurappa said.

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai demanded that the state government immediately stop the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, file an appeal in the Supreme Court and fight a legal battle.

The BJP leader accused the Congress government of failing to protect the interests of farmers and the drinking water needs of people in Karnataka.

“The government has been faltering on the Cauvery issue since the beginning. Already about 15 TMC water, by way of releasing 10 thousand cusecs (cubic feet per second) water every day, has been released as per the order of Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) directive but yet no legal action has been taken against it,” he alleged.

Bommai wondered what was the point of Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, who holds Water Resources portfolio, discussing with legal experts now when the government has already started releasing 5,000 cusecs of water daily on the instructions of CWMA.

An appeal against the previous order should have already been filed with the Supreme Court, which has not been done yet, he said.

“I demand that the release of water should be immediately stopped and an appeal to the Supreme Court be filed and a legal fight be initiated by making strong convictions. The Congress government has failed to protect the drinking water requirements of Karnataka state and the interest of the farmers,” Bommai added.

Meanwhile, Shivakumar held a meeting with the legal team and Karnataka officials dealing with the Cauvery issue at Karnataka Bhavan-1 in New Delhi.

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