Karnataka was directed by the Supreme Court to immediately release 2.44 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of Cauvery water so that the standing crops in Tamil Nadu can be irrigated, the BJP government in the state indicated that it may not comply with the order.
Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar could soon arrive here to discuss with the state's counsel about whether a review petition should be filed in the apex court.
The court today issued the direction to Karnataka on the basis of the report submitted by members of the expert committee. After visiting the delta districts of Tamil Nadu, they had recommended that 2.44 tmcft be released without delay in order to save standing crops in over one lakh hectares.
On Feb 4, Tamil Nadu's counsel CS Vaidvanathan informed the apex court that at least 9 tmcft of Cauvery water is required to save the crops in six lakh hectares. Already the prevailing drought in the delta basin had caused the loss of crops in three lakh hectares and water is urgently required to irrigate the remaining crops in the delta basin, he said.
The Supreme Court bench was not convinced by these arguments. The court today observed: "According to you, whatever you say should be accepted as gospel truth and the order be passed accordingly."
Karnataka's contention that Tamil Nadu does not require any more water as nearly half of the standing crops have been harvested till date was also dismissed by the bench.
Both states have been at loggerheads over their respective share of Cauvery river water for a long time. Tamil Nadu has urged the Centre to notify the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award. The Supreme Court has set Feb 20 as the deadline for the Centre to issue the notification.
Opposition parties in Karnataka feel that the 2007 tribunal award is detrimental to the state. The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have accused the -led government of changing suddenly its stand on the issue. Water Resources Minister Basavaraja Bommai rebutted this charge and averred that Karnataka's interests will be protected.