Bengaluru: Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar on Tuesday expressed the state’s dilemma regarding the directive to release water to Tamil Nadu and called for the intervention of the central government.
“We are in a catch-22 situation. We do not have water, and still, we have to respect the decision of the authorities. But, we are appealing before the Supreme Court, and I am leaving for New Delhi,” he said, speaking from his residence in Bengaluru.
The Cauvery Water Management Authority on September 18 asked Karnataka to continue releasing 5,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water to Tamil Nadu for another 15 days, according to a statement released by the body after an emergency meeting in which both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu made representations.
“I will meet the Parliament members; we will also take a delegation to the Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat, and we are also seeking time to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Shivakumar added.
He said the dams are experiencing a severe lack of inflow. “We will plead with them to help us out and bail us out. There is no inflow to the dams, and we are finding it very difficult, and the central government has to help us out. The BJP should join us to save Karnataka,” he said.
Shivakumar added he will be leaving for Delhi soon, where he plans to meet with all Members of Parliament, asking them to apply pressure on the central government, urging them to intervene in the matter. “We will bring the current situation to the attention of the Supreme Court,” Shivakumar added.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah is also scheduled to hold a meeting in the national capital today with all Members of Parliament and Union Ministers representing Karnataka. During the meeting, the chief minister will likely request Union Ministers and MPs from Karnataka to use their influence to seek intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Government of India regarding the Cauvery issue.
He is later scheduled to meet several other Union Ministers during the visit, and his return journey has been kept ‘’open’’ as per the communication from the CM’s office.
Meanwhile, former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) called on political parties in Karnataka, including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, JD(S), and Raitha Sangha, to work together to find a permanent solution to the issue.
“How long can we drag the dispute?” questioned Kumaraswamy and stated that “certain drastic steps are needed to take the Cauvery water dispute to a logical end,” he said during a press conference in Bengaluru.
The JD(S) leader was unhappy over the order of the Cauvery Water Management Authority regarding its decision asking Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for a fortnight without assessing the ground realities in both the States. “CWMA of issuing the order sitting in an air-conditioned room. What sort of Federal system is this?” he said.
Kumaraswamy said he had suggested to the State Government a month ago to wait for the Supreme Court’s order before water was released to Tamil Nadu, but the State Government obeyed the order of CWMA and released water to Tamil Nadu. “What would have happened?” asked Kumaraswamy had the State Government waited for the order of the Supreme Court on water release to Tamil Nadu.
The former Chief Minister accused the officials concerned with the state water resources department of taking the River Cauvery dispute for granted and claimed that during the meeting on water release to Tamil Nadu, only a couple of them attended the meeting while about 15 officials from Tamil Nadu made it to the meeting. “It has been the difference between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” observed the JD(S) leader.
While JD(S) called for unity, former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai of BJP on Tuesday said that the state government is committing mistakes repeatedly and putting the people of the state in a difficult situation. He said that if the state government is releasing water as per the orders of the CWMA, then there is nothing to argue before the Supreme Court.
He said that the state has filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court that it won’t release the water after September 12. “They should be committed to it. The affidavit by the government carries a lot of weight, and now it is like the state government is lying before the Apex court,” he told reporters at his residence in Bengaluru.
“The move by the government has put the farmers of the state and people in the Cauvery basin into a difficult situation. I have given my advice in the interest of the state. Those in power are responsible,” he added.
He said that the government is not ready to take his party’s advice. “The advocates always suggest releasing the water. We had changed it, and we did not release the water during the night. Once you are following the orders of CWMA, what is there to argue before the Supreme Court?” he asked.
Talking about the Congress government’s plan to meet the PM, he said, “There is no meaning now in going before the Prime Minister. The dispute matter had come before the PM before 1990 and now there is no need for it. The state government is claiming that it is taking the delegation to the PM to mislead the people of the state.”
He said that our advocates have to explain the existing situation of our dams and the proportion of utilisation of water by Tamil Nadu. “Unless it is done, the state won’t get relief. The advocates representing the state have been there for a long time. They have worked during our time as well. We are ready to give advice but if the state government is not ready to take suggestions, what can be done,” he said.
Responding to Bommai, Shivakumar said, “We will consider the suggestion by former CM Basavaraj Bommai regarding the Cauvery dispute. He had suggested stopping the water and pursuing the legal battle. We are going to court the day after tomorrow. We do not want to release the water, at the same time, we need to keep the order of the CWMA in mind.”
“Let Bommai demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene by sidelining the politics. We will also consider Former PM HD Deve Gowda’s proposal to go for the out-of-court settlement,” Shivakumar added.