Bangalore: Karnataka has begun releasing Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu as directed by the Prime Minister and the Supreme Court, even as protests erupted in many parts of the state against the move.
"We have begun releasing the water and will appeal to the Supreme Court for relief," Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told reporters here on Sunday.
Assuring people of the state that his government would protect their interests, Shettar appealed for peace as farmers and Kannada activists staged demonstrations in the Cauvery basin districts of Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajanagar, which are respectively about 80 km, 130 km and 200 km from Bangalore.
The water release started late Saturday night and 9,000 cusecs daily quota would be met by Sunday evening.
Karnataka has to release 9,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till October 15 as per the September 19 directive that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave as head of the Cauvery River Authority.
Since Karnataka did not release the water on the ground that the state was suffering its worst drought in 40 years, the Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the state government and directed it to obey the Prime Minister`s order.
There is heightened security at the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir in Mandya district, from where most of the water was being released, as farmers and Kannada activists threatened to lay siege to the reservoir if water was released.