India: Karnataka to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu 'with a heavy heart' after top court's direction

The chief minister also said it would be 'difficult' for a constitution-bound state to defy the Supreme Court order or to refuse release of water. Photograph:( Others )

Bangalore, Karnataka, India Sep 07, 2016, 01.51 AM (IST)
Amid growing protests in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, the state government has agreed to release 15,000 cusecs water a day for next 10 days to neighbouring Tamil Nadu state as directed by the country's top court on Monday. 

Karnataka Chief minister Siddaramaiah said that the government has complied with the Supreme Court's order with a “heavy heart”, adding that the state will approach the court with a modification petition. The state also intends to approach the Cauvery Supervisory Committee.

"Despite severe hardships faced by the government of Karnataka, the state will release water as directed by the Supreme Court," he told reporters on Tuesday after nearly a three-hour long all-party meeting convened by him.

Cauvery is an Indian river that flows through south and east of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Cauvery water row revolves around Tamil Nadu asking for water to sustain extensive farming and Karnataka wanting to triple its share.

The Supreme Court order was issued in view of the plight of the farmers in Tamil Nadu. 

Mounting protests

Several farmers and activists intenstified their agitation in the Cauvery heartland of Mandya – the centre of Cauvery politics -- and other districts in the basin against the top court's order. 

The chief minister said that the government will do all that it can to provide drinking water to southern Bengaluru city. 

Pro-Kannada farmers and activists blocked Bengaluru-Mysuru highway on Tuesday bringing the normal life to a halt. In Mandya, protesters held dharnas (non-violent sit-in protests) at several places.  

Hundreds of security personnel, including Central forces, were deployed in the Cauvery belt to maintain law and order as protesters mobbed and ransacked several government offices. 

Prohibitory orders were issued at and around the Krishnarajasagar dam across the Cauvery river. Shops, hotels and other commercial establishments remained shut.  

In Bengaluru, some theatres stopped screening of Tamil movies as a "precautionary" step.

Karnataka was releasing only 33 TMC (thousand million cubic) of water instead of the prescribed 94 TMC by the Cauvery tribunal order due to “severe distress”.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu demanded that the Siddaramaiah government comply with the court directive and suggested that the state's chief minister Jayalalithaa lead an all-party delegation to Delhi to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue. 

(WION with inputs from PTI)