Bangalore, Sep 29: A day after the Supreme Court rapped Karnataka for not releasing Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, the state government Saturday sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s immediate intervention to settle the issue.
The state government faxed a request to the prime minister to stay his Sep 19 order for release of 9,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till Oct 15.
Since the state government did not obey the order, the Supreme Court Friday directed Karnataka to obey the order and start releasing water. The apex court was acting on a petition filed by Tamil Nadu for the release of water.
The Karnataka government faces the risk of contempt of court if it does not follow the court’s directive. The only way to avoid contempt of court is if the prime minister stays his Sep 19 directive he gave as head of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA).
The decision to appeal to the prime minister was taken at an all-party meeting here presided by Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Sehttar.
Shettar said after the meeting that his government would request the prime minister to stay the order “by this evening”.
All political parties in Karnataka, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), are against releasing water to Tamil Nadu in view of the worst drought in the state in 40 years.
Shettar had walked out of the Sep 19 Cauvery River Authority meeting protesting the prime minister’s directive. Soon after, the state had filed a review petition seeking stay of the directive, which, however, did not materialise.
Leader of opposition in the assembly, Siddaramaiah of the Congress, who attended the all-party meet, told reporters that the BJP government had handled the issue badly. It should have moved the Supreme Court against the CRA order, he said.
Siddaramaiah said Tamil Nadu had sufficient water in its reservoirs and did not need water immediately.
JD-S leader H.D. Revanna said the state government should continue the legal battle to protect the interests of the state.
The apex court directive sparked off protests late Friday in Bangalore and neighbouring districts of Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajanagar, all of which are heavily dependent on Cauvery river water.
The protests by farmers and Kannada activists continued Saturday at these places.