Karnataka walks out of PM's meeting on Cauvery waters

Karnataka walks out of PM's meeting on Cauvery waters

Karnataka Wednesday walked out of a meeting where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the state to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily till Oct 15 to Tamil Nadu.

"We told the Prime Minister that the state is not in a position to release the water and walked out in protest," Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told reporters in New Delhi, where Singh presided over a meeting of the Cauvery Water Authority (CRA).

Besides Shettar, the meeting was attended by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and Kerala Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph, who stepped in for an indisposed Oomen Chandy.

Shettar said that despite Karnataka explaining in detail the drought situation and the impact that water release to Tamil Nadu would have on farmers in the state, Manmohan Singh said 9,000 cusecs would have to be released daily till Oct 15. "This was not acceptable to us. We made this clear at the meeting and walked out in protest," he said.

The chief minister said the state will now consult legal experts to present its case in the Supreme Court on whose direction the CRA meeting was held. Shettar appealed to the people of Karnataka, particularly in the Cauvery basin area of Mandya and Mysore districts, around 80 km and 130 km respectively from Bangalore, to maintain peace as his government would take all steps to protect the interests of the farmers in the area.

He said he would hold an all-party meeting in Bangalore Sep 21 to decide further action to protest the state's interests. Farmers in Mandya and Mysore districts have been holding demonstrations protesting the release of 10,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu since Sep 12. The state had agreed before the Supreme Court Sep 10 to release this quantum till Sep 20.