New Delhi: Unable to broker a compromise in a raging water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Union Minister Uma Bharti has offered to "go on a hunger strike if there is any problem in either state".
- Uma Bharti, Water Resources Minister, held mediation session
- Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are warring over River Cauvery
- No breakthrough. Riots in Bengaluru earlier this month.
Uma Bharti, who is the Water Resources Minister, was asked by the Supreme Court to hold a mediation session today between the governments of the neighbouring states, a tall order given the extent of the conflict over the River Cauvery, which flows from Karnataka into Tamil Nadu.
Today's meeting was attended by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who belongs to the Congress, and a Tamil Nadu minister who, represented J Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister who is in hospital. "A solution could not achieved outside the court and it is for the Supreme Court to take a decision now," rued Uma Bharti.
The fact is that the Supreme Court did take a decision - and ordered Karnataka to release more water to Tamil Nadu for three days this week, a direction so far defied by Mr Siddaramaiah, who says that the major cities in his state, including the capital of Bengaluru, are dangerously close to running out of drinking water. Earlier this week, he told judges that the earliest Karnataka can spare water is November.
His actions, backed resolutely by opposition parties in Karnataka, provoked a scolding from the Supreme Court which said his government is violating the spirit of federalism or cooperation among states.
However, earlier this month, Karnataka followed an initial order to increase its supply to Tamil Nadu for two weeks; riots erupted in several parts of the state including in Bengaluru, where two people were killed.
"Karnataka asked for an expert committee to see its water level situation, Tamil Nadu has not given its consent (to this). So we have decided to send both views to the Supreme Court," said Uma Bharti.