The sharing of Cauvery river waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is heading for another flashpoint with protests picking on either side of the border again.
Yesterday, Karnataka said it had stopped the flow of water into Tamil Nadu after Supreme Court deferred hearing its plea for a review of the order of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) to share water. Karnataka said that the level of water in the Krishna Raja Sagar dam, from where water is released into Tamil Nadu, was too low for more to be released.
The Tamil Nadu government today said it will file a contempt plea against Karnataka for not following the ruling of the CRA.
The CRA, headed by the Prime Minister, has ruled that Karnataka must release 9,000 cusecs of water a day for the Tamil Nadu till October 15. The PM yesterday rejected any review of the CRA's decision.
The two states have been battling over the flow of water for decades. Tamil Nadu says it's crops are dying because of perpetual water shortage and Karnataka claims it too doesn't have enough water to give to its southern neighbour.
The stopping of water sparked off political protests yesterday.
The chief of Tamil political party Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), S Ramadoss, today asked the Centre to deploy the Army to ensure that Karnataka releases water to Tamil Nadu. He also demanded that the Centre take over all Karnataka's dams across the Cauvery, which flows through both the states. He termed stopping the release of water after the court's order "a threat to the country's integrity" and accused the Karnataka government of "instigating people to protest against Tamil Nadu".
The Communist Party of India's Tamil Nadu wing has also joined the protest. More than 500 CPI activists were arrested in Thanjavur district for trying to stop trains to mark their protest.
In Karnataka, farmers, already holding dharnas
and rallies in protest, say they will continue till the CRA reviews its order. Earlier protests, mostly along the KRS dam, had turned violent.
Karnataka has been requesting the CRA to stay its September 19 order asking the state to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily till October 15 and keep it in abeyance till the decision was subjected to review. The Cauvery Monitoring Committee is expected to meet in Delhi on October 11 at which the reports of the two central study teams that visited both the states are likely to be debated.
The sharing of Cauvery waters has always been a very touchy political issue between the two states. In Karnataka, it has brought the ruling BJP and the oppostition Congress together, with chief minister Jagdish Shettar and the union foreign minister S M Krishna speaking in one voice about the matter.