The meeting to discuss the long-standing water-sharing dispute over the Cauvery river has ended without a solution. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, whose state has been involved in a protracted legal battle with neigbouring Karnataka over the contentious issue, today described the outcome of the meeting as "disappointing".
The meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA), the first in nine years, was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - who also heads the group - as well as the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry. The session came after Ms Jayalalithaa demanded that a meeting of the CRA be convened to discuss the state's water problem while flagging the need for immediate release of water from the Cauvery to save standing crops. Karnataka, on the other hand, has refused to release water to Tamil Nadu, insisting on a new formula to share the water when monsoon fails.
Terming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's advice to Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of water to her state as "unacceptable", Ms Jayalalithaa said "Tamil Nadiu is left with no option but to approach the Supreme Court...I have registered my protest against PM's award."
Tamil Nadu had earlier complained to the Supreme Court about non-convening of such a meeting prompting the top court to pull up officials of the Prime Minister's Office on September 3 for the inordinate delay. CRA, set up in 1997, met for the first time today after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power in 2004. The last meeting was held in February, 2003 when AB Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
Karnataka has refused to release water to Tamil Nadu and other riparian states on a formula announced by Cauvery River Tribunal in 2007 citing failed monsoon.
The dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over sharing of Cauvery water dates back to 1990s.(With inputs from PTI)