Cauvery row: Is it celebration time for farmers of K'taka?

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Bangalore, Oct 9: Farmers of Karnataka are a jubilant lot. After the state government stopped releasing water from Cauvery river to neighbouring Tamil Nadu with effect from 7.30 pm on Monday, Oct 8, farmers said that they welcomed the decision.

Farmers and activists were at the forefront to protest against the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. As a mark of protest against the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka on Saturday observed a state-wide bandh.

Karnataka has been releasing water from Krishna Raja Sagar and Kabini dams to ensure flow of 9,000 cusecs [Cusec is a measure of flow rate and is informal shorthand for cubic feet per second (1 cusecs = 28.317 litres per second)] of water to the neighbouring state since Sept 29. The state was implementing the order of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA).

But can the farmers of Karnataka really celebrate now? Experts say that as the matter is not yet solved, it would be too early to hold any celebration.

In fact, it is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, CRA chairman, who will decide the fate of farmers of Karnataka.

Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is once again back in the court of the Prime Minister with the Supreme Court saying only the Prime Minister can decide on Karnataka's plea to stop release of water to Tamil Nadu.

Hearing Karnataka's special review petition seeking a stay on release of water on Monday, the division bench comprising Justice DK Jain and Justice Madan B Lokur said, "Our order of Sept 28 shall not in anyway be an impediment in the way of chairman of CRA to take a decision on review application by the Karnataka government."

Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said that it was not possible to release more water to Tamil Nadu. "We have conveyed this to Supreme Court by our senior counsel and this is the stand of the state government before the court," he said.

BJP MPs M Venkaiah Naidu, Prahlad Joshi, Basavaraj Patil, Prabhakar Kore, BY Raghavendra and GS Basavaraj had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday. Talking to reporters after the meeting, party MP Ananth Kumar said, "We urged the Prime Minister that he should review his decision and give a stay order forthwith for giving any more water from today itself."

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Minister of State for Railways KH Munniyappa along with Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal also met Prime Minister on Monday at his South Block office for an hour. "We requested him to resolve the problem at the earliest... based on the report of the expert committee... He has to take a considered decision... The situation is very grim. That is why we have asked the Prime Minister to resolve the situation," Kharge told reporters after the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) is expected to meet in New Delhi on Oct 11 to consider the report of two teams of central government officials, which visited Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on Friday and Saturday, to assess the situation in the two states.

Karnataka has declared 150 of the state's 176 taluks or revenue subdivisions as drought hit. It says water in the reservoirs across the Cauvery basin is just adequate to meet its needs till the monsoon returns next June.

Bangalore city draws about 950 million litres daily (MLD) of water from the Cauvery River out of its daily requirement of 1,350 MLD.

OneIndia News

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