The Karnataka Assembly on Friday adopted a resolution to use Cauvery water only for drinking needs and not spare it for any other purpose. Earlier in the day, a resolution asking the government to use the water only to meet drinking needs was moved at a special session of the Karnataka Assembly, implying that the state cannot comply with the latest Supreme Court direction to release water to Tamil Nadu.
Highlighting the “state of acute distress”, the resolution, endorsed by all parties, said it was “imperative” that the government ensures that no water from the present storages be drawn “save and except” for meeting drinking water needs of villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and Bengaluru.
The interests of the inhabitants of the state are likely to be gravely jeopardised if water in the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin was in anyway reduced other than for meeting the drinking water needs of the people in the Cauvery basin, including the entire city of Bengaluru, it said.
The resolution moved in English by Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar and in Kannada by Y S V Datta of JDS did not refer to the apex Court direction to the state to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day to Tamil Nadu but is expected to put Karnataka on a collision course with the judiciary.
The Cauvery Supervisory Committee had on September 19 asked Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs per day from September 21 to 30, but the apex court had on September 20 doubled the quantum to 6,000 cusecs from September 21 to 27 after Tamil Nadu pressed for water to save its samba paddy crop. It had also directed the Centre to constitute within four weeks the Cauvery Water Management Board as directed by Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its award.
Backed by an all party meeting mandate, the state cabinet had on Tuesday decided to defer the release of water to Tamil Nadu and convene a day’s legislature session amid escalating row between the two neighbouring states. The resolution noted that in the water year 2016-17, there has been an acute situation of distress but the shortfall in the basin will become known only at the end of the season on January 31, 2017.
It pointed out that the combined storage in four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin — Krishnaraja Sagar, Hemavathy, Harangi and Kabini — had reached “alarmingly low levels at 27 TMC ft.” “It is now resolved to direct that in this state of acute distress, it is imperative that the government ensures that no water from the present storages be drawn save and except for meeting drinking water requirements of villages and towns in the cauvery basin and Bengaluru,” it said.
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