Karnataka defers releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu

Bengaluru: Defying the Supreme Court’s latest order, Karnataka on Wednesday night decided not to release more Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu till the state legislature discussed and decided on the inter-state dispute on Friday.

“The state cabinet has decided to defer releasing the river water to Tamil Nadu till the state legislature debates and decides on the apex court’s fresh order on Friday,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

The cabinet also decided to request state Governor Vajubhai R Vala to convene a special session of the state legislature on September 23 to discuss the order, as the state is not in a position to release more water due to distress arising out of deficit monsoon rains in the river basin.

A division bench of the apex court on Tuesday ordered the state to release 6,000 cusecs per day from Wednesday for a week till September 27, doubling the quantum (3,000 cusecs) fixed by its appointed Cauvery Supervisory Committee on Monday for 10 days till September 30.

The state has already released 12,000 cusecs daily till Tuesday as per the top court’s September 12 order, which was a modification of its September 5 directive to release 15,000 cusecs daily for 10 days from September 7.

Welcoming the cabinet decision, BJP’s state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa said the opposition party’s lawmakers would attend the special session and participate in the discussion on the apex court’s order to release water or not.

The BJP had boycotted an all-party meeting the chief minister convened in the evening to discuss the apex court’s order, demanding the special legislative session for passing an unanimous resolution against release additional water to the lower riparian state.

“In such a crisis situation, legislature is the right forum to discuss the issue in detail and pass a resolution to protect the state’s interests and benefit the people,” Yeddyurappa, a Lok Sabha lawmaker from Shivamogga constituency, told reporters at Shivamogga, about 300 km from Bengaluru in the state’s Malnad region.