Cauvery row: PM tosses out plea, Karnataka stops water release
On a day when the Supreme Court virtually put the Cauvery water-sharing tussle between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu back into the Prime Minister’s court, the issue took a political turn as the Congress and the BJP heavyweights from Karnataka competed with each other to influence a decision out of the PM in favour of their State any which way.
However, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ruled out a review of the Cauvery River Authority’s (CRA) decision asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu till October 20, rejecting the plea by both the Congress and BJP leaders from the State.
“Both the groups sought a stay. The Prime Minister told them that it is not permissible as there is no mechanism under the CRA to change its award. It is not the decision of the PM but of the CRA. The CRA will have to meet again for any such thing (change of decision),” said Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Bansal was present during both the BJP and the Congress delegations’ meetings with the PM. He, later, quoted the PM as saying that the Centre will act keeping in mind the interests of both the States. Chaired by the PM, the CRA has Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala and Union Water Resources Minister as its members.
Monday began with two top Karnataka politicos, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, hanging their political differences to strategise a way by which the Supreme Court directive on release of water to Tamil Nadu could be stalled. But the day ended with the Prime Minister holding an emergency meeting with “only’’ the Congress leaders.
Shettar had made it known that it was not possible for Karnataka to release more water to Tamil Nadu. “We have conveyed this to the Supreme Court by our senior counsel and this is the stand of the State government before the court,’’ he said.
Though the SC will review Karnataka’s plea seeking deferment of its earlier order on October 12, the apex court made it clear that the CRA can take a call on the issue factoring in the ground situation. The court, however, ticked off Karnataka for the daily protests. Since primacy of the Prime Minister’s role in the issue is undisputed, the BJP and the Congress members of Karnataka went to Manmohan seeking relief.
Five crest gates at KRS dam shut
Karnataka on Monday stopped release of Cauvery water from the Krishna Raja Sagar dam citing depleted storage, hours after PM Manmohan Singh made it clear that only the CRA can review its order directing the State to release 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu. “As per the direction of Irrigation Department heads, we have closed the five crest gates through which the water is flowing to Tamil Nadu”, a KRS official said.