The Karnataka government, on Wednesday, deferred the decision on releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court’s verdict by a day and chose to await the outcome of the meeting of riparian states convened by the Centre on Thursday.
Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti will preside over the meeting — called on the Supreme Court’s advice on Tuesday — in which state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah along with his Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil and top officials will participate.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah, an advocate himself, had to make a choice between the court’s order to release 6,000 cusecs of water for three days to Tamil Nadu from Wednesday, and a political suggestion from the JD(S) and BJP who reminded him that he was bound by the legislature’s resolution.
The resolution passed by both Houses of the Karnataka legislature said no water should be released from Cauvery reservoirs except to meet the drinking water requirements of the state, including the entire city of Bengaluru.
Maintaining that deferring the decision on release of water was not taken with an intention of dis-respecting the Supreme Court, he stated that the Apex Court had, in its verdict, said that the water release stipulated by it could be adjusted against the future releases.
Siddaramaiah said, “The BJP, JD(S) and the Congress members, besides Union ministers from Karnataka have suggested that since a resolution was passed by the legislature which says water can be used only for drinking needs, defer release of water to Tamil Nadu till the meeting with the Centre. At Thursday’s meeting, I will apprise the Union minister of the ground realities. Karnataka has no intention of defying the apex court orders. We will wait for the outcome of Thursday’s meeting and decide on the next step.”