Bengaluru: After sitting on a Supreme Court order for days, the Karnataka government on Monday relented and agreed to release water to farmers in Tamil Nadu.
The Karnataka legislature, which held an emergency session through the day, advised the government to take appropriate decision in this regard. After this, the Karnataka cabinet headed by Siddaramaiah decided to release water for irrigation, but the chief minister refused to specify the quantity.
Karnataka said it has decided to release water to its own farmers to save standing crops in Mandya and Mysore districts – the outflow will reach farmers in Tamil Nadu as well.
The state government moved a resolution in the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly saying: “It has been brought to our notice that standing crop in the Cauvery basin is suffering and there has been pressure from farmers to release water. The government can now take appropriate decisions on the release of water from dams, after ensuring drinking water requirements are met and water for drinking is set aside”.
By doing this, the Siddaramaiah government has escaped from contempt of court proceedings which could have forced the SC to order its dismissal for not complying with orders to release water to Tamil Nadu.
On Monday, in a major relief for Karnataka, the Centre told the Supreme Court that forming the Cauvery Water Management Board is the sole prerogative of Parliament and that the court cannot order the government on this. The SC will hear the matter on Tuesday.
The Centre’s submission has come as a huge relief to Karnataka and Kerala which have been opposing the Board saying it will take away their rights over the Cauvery reservoirs.
The order to form the Board before October 4 was passed by a two-judge bench of the SC to decide future distribution of Cauvery water among the four riparian states – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
It had led to further anger in Karnataka with JDS leader HD Deve Gowda sitting on a dharna till he got a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to end the fast.