New Delhi: Citing the ”drought-like situation” in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said the state government will appeal in the Supreme Court for an injunction against the CWMA order that stipulates the release of about 5,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu till September 28.
Siddarmaiah also sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in this regard.
The order by the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) came on September 18.
Senior BJP leader and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged the Congress government in Karnataka not to ”politicise” the matter as the state has agreed to release 2,500 cusecs out of 5,000 cusecs of water to TN.
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The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting with members of Parliament and Union ministers from Karnataka in the national capital. Out of 40 MPs from the state, five members including Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, JDS chief H D Deve Gowda and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge did not attend the meeting.
”The state is in distress as we have not received enough rainfall. There is a drought-like situation in the state. Out of 230 taluks, 195 taluks have been declared as drought-hit. In a meeting to be held soon, another 20-odd taluks will be declared drought-hit,” Siddaramaiah told reporters after the meeting.
The month of August saw a rainfall shortage for the first time in 123 years. In times of distress, there is no formula to decide how much water to be released for Tamil Nadu, he said.
”Unfortunately, there is no distress formula to address this suffering… We cannot release water. We will appeal to the Supreme Court for an injunction against the CWMA order…,” he said.
The chief minister also shared that the Supreme Court, in the modified order, had asked Karnataka to release 177.25 TMC of Cauvery water in a normal year. However, it did not specify the quantum of water to be released during any distress year.
”Till now, we were to release 108 TMC of water had it been a normal year. So far, only 39.6 TMC water has been given because there is no water and no rain,” he added. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said there is very little inflow of water in the state.
The CWMA has not come out with a formula on the quantum of water to be released in times of distress situation, he said.
”We are facing a distress situation as we have only 1/3rd of the water. For the first time in the last 120 years, such a situation has risen. CWMA has asked us to release 5,000 cusecs of water, but we have no water even for drinking. We discussed this with all MPs. They have assured us they will support in our fight,” Shivakumar said.
Joshi has assured he will fix a meeting on behalf of Karnataka with the Union jalshakti minister to present the case, Shivakumar said and added he has also sought time from the PM to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, Joshi said the Congress government in Karnataka should talk to the DMK government in Tamil Nadu on the issue as the two parties are allies.
”They should have told CWMA that it will not be possible to release water… It is your mistake,” he said and added MPs and ministers will help whenever possible, but they ”should not politicise” the issue.
He said DMK is an ally of the Congress party and asked how many times the state government spoke to the DMK-ruled Tamil Nadu government and its chief minister on this issue.
”The negotiation between two states should happen,” the parliamentary affairs minister suggested.