Bengaluru, Sep 29 (IANS): Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday told a delegation of farmers, Dalits, labourers, and Kannada activists that the government feels that Cauvery water should not be released to Tamil Nadu and a decision would be taken after the meeting with the expert team.
He met the delegation of activists led by State Sugarcane Growers President Kuruburu Shanthakumar and Karnataka AAP President Mukhyamantri Chandru regarding the Cauvery dispute at his home office 'Krishna'.
Two committees will review the situation and issue orders regarding Cauvery water distribution, he said,
Noting that the order was to release water from the Biligundlu reservoir, he said that under normal circumstances, there is a mandate to release 177.25 tmc of water in a year.
"Our state needs 284.85 tmc of water. No distress formula has been formulated in the Supreme Court," the CM said, adding that the tribunal itself has decided to have 2 committees.
"We have been protesting every time a meeting was called. This year there was a problem due to no rain in August. Even this month, there is hardly any rain. Tamil Nadu will receive rain in the month of September. So far 43 tmc of water has gone. It has been ordered that 123 tmc of water should be released. But we have not released the water.
"We have been protesting every time the Cauvery Authority called a meeting. We said that there is no water. We had filed an application before the Supreme Court. We need 70 tmc water for irrigation to sustain the crop, 30 tmc is required for drinking water, and industries require 3 tmc of water. The state has a total requirement of 106 tmc. But we have only 50 tmc of water. Our first priority is drinking water," he said.
A meeting with retired Supreme Court judges, irrigation experts and former Advocates General has been called to discuss the next steps.
"We think that water should not be released." However, he said that if the water is not released, the reservoirs can be seized by the central government, contempt of court will be committed and the government can be dismissed.
Shanthakumar said that the people of Karnataka are being worried by orders. He insisted that the government should take a decision in favour of the farmers. It was also requested to withdraw cases against those of the organisations who fight for the people. He demanded that the Mekedatu project should be given quick consideration.
Chandru said that the public voluntarily took part in the strike and termed the authority's judgment "unscientific".
"It should be clear as to where is the failure. Our claim should be done as vigorously as Tamil Nadu. It is wrong to suggest to release water even if there is no solution to the problem," he said, adding that drinking water should be given priority and Tamil Nadu is asking for water for crops.
He also appealed to call the Legislature immediately and take appropriate decision in this regard. The Chief Minister said that the decision will be taken after discussing all the demands in the meeting with the team of experts.