In the wake of Supreme Court directing Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has said he would lead a MPs team from the Cauvery Basin today to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for apprising him of the distress situation in his state.
"I am leading a delegation of MPs from Cauvery basin tomorrow to hold talks with Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is also Cauvery River Authority Chairman, to apprise them of the prevailing distress situation in Karnataka," Mr Shettar said in the Assembly.
The delegation would brief them on the "poignant situation" in the state which is hit by drought and water shortage, Mr Shettar said, adding that they would also seek legal opinion and views of experts before deciding the next step.
In an interim relief to Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court had on Wednesday directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu and also asked the Cauvery Monitoring Committee to meet on December 7 or December 8 to decide the water requirements of both states.
Mr Shettar pointed out that disobedience of verdicts have adversely affected Karnataka farmers.
"In 1991 the then Karnataka government decided to pass an ordinance over release of water and this led to the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) passing an interim order directing Karnataka to release 205 tmcft of Cauvery water per annum and specified the quantum of monthly release. This order hit us as hard as the 1924 pact between the Madras presidency and the erstwhile princely State of Mysore," Mr Shettar said.
Opposition Congress Leader Siddaramaiah said government should clear its stand, as there was no water to release to Tamil Nadu. He said as many as 49 talukas in the Cauvery basin were facing drought and standing crops on lakhs of acres are dying due to water shortage.
If Cauvery water is released to Tamil Nadu, it will put residents of Bangalore, Mysore and Mandya in jeopardy as they depend on it for drinking water, Mr Siddaramaiah said.
The Congress leader said the reservoir level in Tamil Nadu has improved and ground water is available even at 20 feet whereas in Karnataka, the ground water is exploited to the maximum. "I respect Supreme Court order to release water to Tamil Nadu, but we are in distress," he said.
Earlier, the opposition took a unanimous stand that the state should not release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as its farmers were facing drought and water shortage.
"The Opposition has taken an unanimous stand asking the state government not to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu keeping in view of the farmers facing drought and water shortage problems," Opposition Leader in State Legislative Council SR Patil said after emerging from a meeting of the Floor Leaders held at the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, the state's second secretariat-cum-legislature complex, where the winter session of the Assembly is being held.
Mr Patil also said on land and water issues concerning the state, the opposition stood united. "We have presented our views on the Cauvery dispute and now we are awaiting Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar's reply on the issue," he said.
JDS Floor Leader in the Assembly HD Revanna said the government has to effectively present the distress situation in the state before the Cauvery River Authority, Cauvery Monitoring Committee and Supreme Court.
The central government should intervene and come to the rescue of Karnataka. "Under these circumstances we have informed the chief minister and asked him to take a suitable step on the issue," he said.
The meeting of Floor Leaders was convened by the Chief Minister.
Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister KS Eswarappa and Siddaramaiah were also present at the meeting.