Cauvery notification: Cong in fix, BJP has escape plan

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Cauvery KRS Dam
Bangalore, Feb 5: With Karnataka elections on the horizon will the Centre notify the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award? And, will the BJP-ruled Karnataka government release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as directed by the Supreme Court? The Congress-led government at the Centre is in a quandary but the BJP government has an escape route. The apex court has not specified any timeframe for the release of water from Karnataka and this could help the BJP government stall water release.

Today both the opposition Congress and JDS made a forceful plea in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly against notification of the 2007 tribunal award, underlining that this would amount to grave injustice to the state's interests.

In response, BJP's Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said a meeting of the floor leaders of the Karnataka legislature would be convened tomorrow to discuss the issue and spell out the State's stand clearly. Cauvery is a sensitive issue in South Karnataka and no political party wants to be seen as damaging the interest of the state.

The Supreme Court had yesterday directed the Centre to notify the award by February 20. It also directed Karnataka to release two tmc ft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu but did not issue any timeframe for the same.

Raising the issue in the Assembly, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah referred to the Supreme Court order in which it was mentioned that Karnataka had expressly stated that it had no objections to its notification, and demanded that the Government clarify its stand on the issue. "Why this sudden change in the Government stand?", he asked, calling for a detailed debate on the issue.

In the past five years, Karnataka had expressed its reservations on the notification contending that a civil appeal is pending before the Supreme Court, which needs to be first disposed of. Also, the state has maintained consistently that the award had done "injustice" to the State.

Water Resources Minister Basavaraja Bommai said there is no change in the state government stand. He and Shettar said Government would make a detailed statement in the House. JDS leader H D Revanna said it would not be wrong to say that the notification is a "mortal blow" to Karnataka, adding, legislators irrespective of party affiliations should resign as a mark of protest, if the Centre goes ahead with it.

The Chief Minister said Government has been safeguarding the interests of the State and would continue to do so. Siddaramaiah also said the State should impress upon the Supreme Court that releasing two tmc ft to Tamil Nadu would not be possible as the drinking water shortage is already severe in the State.

OneIndia News

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