Bengaluru, (IANS) Attending an all-party meeting called by the Karnataka government on the Cauvery issue, state opposition parties on Wednesday struck a rigid stance and asked the Siddaramaiah government not to release more river water to Tamil Nadu.
“We have told the state government not to release any more Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu for irrigation, as it is required to meet the drinking needs of our people in the river basin region,” opposition leader and former BJP Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told reporters after a marathon all-party meeting here on the issue.
The apex court on Tuesday directed Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs daily for three days from Wednesday till Friday despite Karnataka legislature’s unanimous resolution adopted on September 23 to use the depleted water in the four dams for drinking purpose only.
Echoing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s view, Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) lawmaker Y.S.V. Datta said his party’s leader and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had also conveyed to the state government not to release the water till the outcome of Thursday’s meeting between the two states in New Delhi with Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, as directed by the top court.
“We have told the Chief Minister (Siddaramaiah) not to release water to Tamil Nadu today (Wednesday). We will meet again after tomorrow’s (Thursday) meeting in Delhi. We also told him that our resolution was more important,” Datta said.
As the warring states stuck to their respective positions, the apex court bench had directed the central government to convene an urgent meeting of the heads of the two states to resolve the issue before it resumes hearing in the case on Friday.
“The Chief Minister heard the views of the opposition parties and their suggestions. The Cabinet will discuss the same and decide accordingly by weighing the pro and cons of the apex court’s order,” state Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil told reporters.
Though Siddaramaiah will participate in the meeting on Thursday in New Delhi along with Patil and other top officials, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has deputed her Public Works Minister E.K. Palaniswamy for the meeting as she is still recovering from illness at a private Chennai hospital.
Declining to share details of the all-party meeting, state Parliamentary Affairs and Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra, however, admitted that they (opposition parties) had advised the Chief Minister not to release the water and convey the same to the central minister (Bharti).
“The state Cabinet, which will meet later in the day, will decide whether to release the water or not, although we have the highest respect for the top judiciary,” Jayachandra told reporters later.
Floor leaders of both the houses, members of Parliament and legislators and district incharge ministers from the river basin attended the three-hour-long meeting.
Members of Raitha Sangha, a regional outfit of farmers, also participated in the meeting.
“We have placed our suggestion before the government to honour the resolution passed in the special legislature session,” reiterated Shettar.
Observing that flow of water had increased after recent rains in the downstream areas of the river basin, Datta said there was no need to release more water from the four reservoirs as the groundwater resources and gravity would ensure that the ordered quantum (6,000 cusecs) flows into Tamil Nadu at Biligundulu, the inter-state measuring centre.
“Legal battle is over. We have to take a political decision on the basis of the will of the people, expressed through the unanimous resolution,” Datta said.