MYSURU: Days after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah turned down Tamil Nadu’s demand for Cauvery water, the state government released water from the Krishnaraja Sagar and Kabini reservoirs.
Water Resources Minister M B Patil had said the state was in no position to release water citing poor monsoon. However, the state has quietly released 8,255 cusecs of water from KRS and about 4,000 cusecs from Kabini.
On learning about the release, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha activists protested by standing in the Cauvery river near Srirangapatna while Kannada activists protested near irrigation offices, demanding stoppage of the release of water.
The release comes in the backdrop of the KRS level standing at 105.15 ft against the maximum of 124.8 ft and the Mandya district administration’s appeal to farmers to grow semi-dry drops instead of irrigated crops like paddy and sugarcane.
Officials are not in a position to release water into the Kabini right and left bank canals either. The situation in the KRS achkat is also bad with farmers deprived of water. “When we are prevented from growing sugarcane or paddy citing low water levels, why did they release water to Tamil Nadu?” asked KRRS leader Nanjunde Gowda. He said the government should show political will to protect the interests of farmers.
Protestors said irrigation officials have been releasing water from KRS at night. They threatened to lay siege to reservoirs and take over water management if the government fails to close the crest gates.
An irrigation official pleading anonymity said they released water from the KRS since they received rain in the catchment area and to meet the needs of canals and drinking water. But farmers say excess water would only flow to Tamil Nadu and won’t benefit them.
If officials continue to release 4,000 cusecs for more then a week, the level that is 2,274 ft may reduce to 2,265 ft, affecting farmers in the Kabini achkat.