MANDYA: Farmers in Mandya staged a protest a day after the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) passed an interim order asking Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily for the next 15 days till September 2.
Farmers, wearing blindfolds, on Tuesday held a sit-in against the government in in front of the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam office at the main gate of the KRS dam in Mandya, they said.
Citing scarcity of water, protesting farmers demanded to stop the release of water to Tamil Nadu immediately. “Farmers here don’t have water, so why give it to Tamil Nadu?” They alleged that the state government does not “care” about the farmers here.
Large and Medium Industries Minister M B Patil said it is very difficult for the state to implement the panel order. “We do not have water. It is very difficult to implement the panel order. So we have taken the legal route. We are going to raise it before the Cauvery Water Management Authority”.
Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, who is also the Water Resources Minister, on Tuesday said the Supreme Court will announce its verdict soon on the Cauvery water dispute and said they will “safeguard the interests” of the state.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Shivakumar said, “Let the hearing be completed. We will put forth our arguments and we will safeguard the interests of the state. Let the Supreme Court verdict come, then I will react”, he added.
This comes a day after the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) passed an interim order asking Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily for the next 15 days till September 2.
The Supreme Court last Friday refrained from passing any order on the Tamil Nadu government’s plea on the release of Cauvery water, saying it doesn’t possess any expertise on this issue and sought a report from the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) on the quantum of release made by Karnataka.
The Tamil Nadu government has approached the top court seeking direction to Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of water daily per day from the reservoirs in Karnataka.
The Karnataka government last Thursday filed an affidavit opposing Tamil Nadu’s application saying that the application is based on an assumption that this year is the normal rainwater year.
The government said that Tamil Nadu’s application that Karnataka to ensure the release of 36.76 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) stipulated for September 2023 has no legal basis since the said quantity is stipulated in a normal water year and this water year, being a distressed water year so far, it is not applicable.
The application is based on an ‘erroneous assumption’ that this year is the normal rainwater year, even though, rainfall is lesser by 25 per cent and inflow into four reservoirs in Karnataka was lesser by 42.5 per cent up to August 9 as recorded by the Cauvery Water Management Authority, Karnataka government stated in its affidavit.
Last Monday, Chief Minister Siddaramiah instructed the Water Resources Department officials to prioritise the welfare of Karnataka farmers from the Cauvery water. “We cannot give 83 tmcft of water as it will empty out reservoirs and cause problems for drinking water”, he said.
The Cauvery water issue has been a controversial issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for decades and they have been locked in a battle over the sharing of water from the Cauvery river, which is a major source of irrigation and drinking water for millions of people in the region.
The Centre formed the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) on June 2, 1990, to adjudicate disputes between Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry with respect to the water-sharing capacities.
The Cauvery is an interstate basin that originates in Karnataka and passes through Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry before draining into the Bay of Bengal.
The total watershed of the Cauvery basin is 81,155 sqkm, of which the river’s catchment area is about 34,273 sqkm in Karnataka, 2,866 sqkm in Kerala and the remaining 44,016 sq km in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. (ANI)