No solution to Cauvery water-sharing row

The meeting of the Cauvery River Authority failed to produce a solution on Wednesday.

New Delhi: The meeting of the Cauvery River Authority failed to produce a solution with both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu rejecting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s award of 9000 cusecs of water to save standing crops in the delta region.

In protest against the award, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar staged a walkout, saying the state was not ready to give "even a drop of water" to Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa spoke in the same vein calling the meeting a "totally disappointed" affair and declared that the state would move the Supreme Court.

On its part, the Centre said the Prime Minister`s decision was taken keeping in mind the survival of crops of both the states and maintained it cannot prevent any state from moving court.

After hearing both sides, Singh ruled that Karnataka release 9000 cusecs of water each day for 25 days from tomorrow to October 15 after it refused to accept Tamil Nadu`s demand for 2 tmcft water for 24 days or 1 tmcft for 30 days.

"Karnataka was not agreeable to both these demands and said it would not release even a drop of water to Tamil Nadu in these circumstances. The bare minimum water sought by Tamil Nadu was also not accepted," Jayalalithaa told reporters after the meeting.

She said Tamil Nadu was "totally disappointed" with the meeting and added that the state had no option but to knock at the doors of the Supreme Court to seek justice and to save the standing crops.

Shettar said he told the Prime Minister that the state was not in a position to release any water to Tamil Nadu because of severe drought situation in Karnataka.

"But, against our request, the Prime Minister has given a ruling that up to October 15, Karnataka has to release 5000 cusecs of water. That is not good. We have not accepted that. Against that ruling we protested and staged walk out," he told reporters.

Water Resources Minister P K Bansal said respective states put across their viewpoints which are well-known and the Prime Minister after hearing them pleaded for some mutually agreeable solution.

"There were discussions. We adjourned the meeting for some time as there were discussions among parties...It was keeping in view the decision of the Supreme Court that Karnataka was directed to release 9,000 cusecs of water," he said.

By October 15, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee will look into the matter again and if necessary, the CRA can take a call, he said.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid, who was also present, said if someone wants to move court, the government cannot stop.

"If we are asked, we will inform the court of the CRA`s decision. If the court accepts the verdict, then there is no further argument," he said.

Shettar told the meeting about extreme distress conditions and drought prevailing in all the 49 taluks of the Cauvery basin area in Karnataka.

He informed the meeting that the state cannot afford any further release of water and wanted an expert team be sent to gather facts on water requirement for crops and drinking purposes and the total water available in the basin.

Jayalalithaa said Karnataka was "adamant" from the beginning saying it would not release even a drop of water to Tamil Nadu.

She said Tamil Nadu was dependent on water from Karnataka to save crops in 15 lakh acres in the state.

Earlier, at the meeting, Jayalalithaa told Singh that the people of Tamil Nadu expect "positive and firm" action on his part for the release of water from Karnataka.

"I request you to direct Karnataka to immediately release 48 TMC ft at the rate of 2 TMC ft everyday for the next 24 days which is due to Tamil Nadu in accordance with distress sharing formula and thereafter continuously as per the interim order of the Tribunal, so that the Samba crop can be sustained in the Cauvery basin and food crisis in Tamil Nadu averted," she said.