Opposition members in the Legislative Assembly heckled Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Monday for releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu when the Cauvery basin was reeling under severe drought and drinking water shortage.
The House, which witnessed a high-voltage discussion on the Cauvery issue, wondered as to why the government released 2,000 cusecs per day from the KRS dam to Tamil Nadu when it had assured an all-party meeting held last week that it would not release water.
The government has gone by the advice of legal counsels and released water, they said.
The Congress and JD(S) members staged walkout during the course of the discussions.
The JD(S) also staged a dharna in the well of the House demanding compensation to farmers of the Cauvery basin who have lost their crops due to shortage of water. BJP member H S Shankarlinge Gowda also joined the dharna.
“What is the point in filing a review petition in the Supreme Court and releasing water at the same time. The government has failed to protect the interest of the farmers and ensure drinking water requirement of Bangaloreans. It should resign,” Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah said.
He said the state had failed in arguing its case effectively before the apex court. “Tamil Nadu’s claim that it required 12 tmc ft of water was rejected by the court.
The case should have been on our side. Yet, we are told that we have to release 2.44 tmc ft. What are our advocates doing ?” Siddaramaiah questioned and, pushed for replacing senior counsel Fali S Nariman representing the state in the apex court.
Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Nariman had advised the government to first comply, at least to some extent, with the court’s direction of releasing 2.44 tmc ft to Tamil Nadu before filing the review petition.
“We were told that non-compliance would result in out right rejection of our review petition,” Bommai said and, added that the government has gone by Nariman’s advice as he had been representing the state for the past 28 years. In a federal system, states are bound by Supreme Court order, the minister said.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Bommai accused the opposition parties of trying to politicise the issue. Bommai said when the Congress and JD(S) were in power, there were instances of they clandestinely releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
“We are working on a contingency plan to meet the drinking water requirements of Bangalore. A plan to draw water from dead storage is underway,” Bommai said.
I’ll quit if it helps:
CMUnder attack from the Opposition over the Cauvery issue, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said he was ready to resign and even go to jail if it helped in solving the Cauvery imbroglio and protecting the interest of farmers.
“I have never sought power. If submitting my resignation is a solution to the Cauvery problem, I will do so immediately”, he said .
The Legislative Council passed a resolution to file a review petition before the Supreme Court on the Cauvery issue on Tuesday. The House also decided to make submission before the court on the plight of people, cattle and wild animals due to water shortage in the Cauvery basin.