Karnataka defies SC order, says Cauvery water only for drinking needs

The state chief minister said that an acute water shortage has created a situation wherein it is not possible to comply with the court order. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Bengaluru, Karnataka, India Sep 23, 2016, 10.53 PM (IST)
Defying the Supreme Court's order the Indian state of Karnataka decided on Friday to use the water from the Cauvery river only for drinking purposes and not spare it for any other use. 

The state legislative assembly unanimously passed the resolution to release water for the purpose of meeting basic needs of the people living in Bengaluru and the Cauvery basin.

"An impossible situation wherein it is not possible to comply with a court (order) has been created," state chief minister Siddaramaiah said.

Siddaramaiah said "nobody should construe as if we are challenging the Supreme Court" and added that his government had equal respect for all the three organs -- legislature, executive and judiciary, "more so for judiciary."

"People have given us a mandate. We cannot defy it," he said, adding, otherwise, "it would be a dereliction of duty on our part."

Prefacing his remarks on the water crisis in the state, he said, "we have great respect for the judiciary. The intention is not to disobey the judicial order. We will not think of it even in our dreams."

The members of the upper house of the assembly cited an acute shortage of water in the state and urged the Karnataka government to ensure that ''no water from the present storages be drawn except for meeting drinking water requirements of the villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and the entire Bangalore city."

"The resolution is passed after carefully considering the needs of the inhabitants of the state of Karnataka whose interests are likely to be jeopardized if water in the core reservoirs is any way reduced other than meeting the drinking water requirements of inhabitants in the Cauvery basin including the entire city of Bengaluru," the leader of opposition and BJP leader Jagdish Shettar said.

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. 

The state cabinet had Tuesday deferred the decision on the apex court order to release water to Tamil Nadu and asked the legislature to decide on it.

The latest announcement by the assembly could add to the tense situation in Bangalore amid escalating row between the neighbouring southern states. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)