We are in distress, can't release water: Karnataka to tell PM
Bangalore: Karnataka would convey to Cauvery River Authority, headed by the Prime Minister, at its meeting on September 19 that it would not be possible to release any more water to Tamil Nadu as the state itself is facing a distress situation.
Opposition leaders and Lok Sabha members from the Cauvery river basin attended a meeting here, called by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, where it was unanimously decided to strongly represent the state's position.
"It was decided bring to the notice of the Prime Minister the factual position. We will explain to him in detail the drought situation in the state", Shettar said. "More than 42 taluks on the Cauvery basin have been declared drought-hit".
It was decided to bring to his notice the storage levels in reservoirs in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and also that the entire Bangalore city depends on Cauvery for its drinking water needs. "We have decided to argue our case forcefully", he said.
"We still have deficit rain-fall".
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah (Congress) said south west monsoon has nearly ended its spell in Karnataka while Tamil Nadu is set to get north-west monsoon next month.
Storage levels at Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu is 44 TMC ft which is enough for "Samba" crops and drinking water requirements for 45 days, he contended.
Karnataka is facing drought for the second year running. "When we ourselves don't have enough water and are in a distress position, the question of release of water to Tamil Nadu does not arise", said Siddaramaiah.
N Cheluvarayaswamy, Lok Sabha member from the Cauvery heartland of Mandya, said it was a "mistake" on the part of Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu as an interim arrangement.
He said the government should explain to the Prime Minister in no uncertain terms that it would not be possible to release water as the state itself is facing shortage both for irrigation and drinking purposes.
Meanwhile, the "Mandya Bandh", called by the Cauvery River Protection Committee and local farmers' outfits against release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, evoked good response and passed off trouble-free, police said.
While business and other commercial establishments were closed, buses belonging to the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and autorickshaws were plying, police at Mandya said.
Most of the schools and colleges remained closed.