Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Sunday defended the state`s decision to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, saying it was "unavoidable" in the wake of the recent Supreme Court directive.
Speaking to reporters at his official residence "Krishna", he said the state had given due respect to the Apex Court directive and released water, despite facing a severe drought and farmers` facing hardships due to it.
"The release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu was unavoidable. With all due respect to the Supreme Court, we are complying with its order", he said.
On the steps taken by government to safeguard the interest of farmers, he said, "A Special Leave Petition has already been filed before the Supreme Court. In another two to three days we will file a review petition".
The Chief Minister urged farmers and people of the state not to disturb peace and asserted that the government is committed to protect farmers` interests and also of the state.
He said Karnataka has already requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Sept 19 Cauvery River Authority meet to send an expert team to evaluate the situation in the state and apprise itself with ground realities. "The Cauvery Monitoring Committee will come here on Oct 8 and review the situation."
Shettar said government had explained to the Centre the problems faced by the previous Chief Minister on the Cauvery issue and written to Singh in this regard, "but we did not get any response".
"As on 11 am today, the state has already released 7,300 cusecs from the Biligundalu gauging station," Shettar said.
Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who was also present at the meeting, termed the Prime Minister`s decision, asking the state to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as "ad-hoc, arbitrary and far removed from ground realities".
"The Prime Minister should have first sent an expert team to understand the ground realities. However, we are going back to the Supreme Court to fight the case and apprise it of the problems arising out of water release", he said.