Government's stance on Cauvery crisis draws flak

Government's stance on Cauvery crisis draws flak

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s admission that the state government has no option but to abide by the direction of the Supreme Court to release Cauvery River water to Tamil Nadu has not gone down well among the people.

Most of the people are of the opinion that the Siddaramaiah government has failed in representing Karnataka in the Supreme Court to counter Tamil Nadu’s claims. According to M Lakshmana, convenor of Cauvery Technical Expert Committee, Karnataka should release 94 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu in the months of June, July and August, but in a distress year, it works out to be 24.38 tmc ft.

“But, Karnataka has already released 33 tmc ft in these three months. Karnataka is facing drought since three years with thousands of farmers committing suicide due to crop loss. However, the Tamil Nadu government is demanding release of water as in normal years,” he said.

As on Tuesday, when the chief minister agreed to release 15,000 cusecs of water for 10 days, the total drawable water from all the four dams in the Cauvery River basin — Harangi dam in Somwarpet taluk of Kodagu district, Krishnaraja Sagar dam in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district, Kabini dam in HD Kote taluk of Mysuru district and Hemavathy dam in Hassan district — was 35.8 tmc ft. “To measure 15,000 cusecs at Biligundlu, which is 120 km away from KRS, Karnataka has to release around 20,000 cusecs, taking into consideration environment, leakage and evaporation loss. So, Karnataka will end up releasing a total of 18 tmc ft of water into the river. Hence, Karnataka will be left with 17.8 tmc ft in its reservoirs, which will last for just three months, only for drinking purpose,” he said.

“For drinking water purpose, the six districts in the Cauvery River basin need 2,060 cusecs of water. The need is: Mysuru-150 cusecs, Mandya-200 cusecs, Ramanagara-100 cusecs, Chamarajanagar-160 cusecs, Hassan-150 cusecs, Bengaluru-1,300 cusecs. The real crisis for Karnataka will not be even when it would have exhausted the storage of water in the dams by December. But from January next year,  when Tamil Nadu would ask for water for its standing Samba crop,” Lakshmana points out.

Bhagyalakshmi, a JD(S) leader, said that by the time the state government files a review petition before the Supreme Court, Karnataka would have released all the water, as per the SC’s direction, to Tamil Nadu. She points out that the chief minister has stated that a review petition would be filed within 10 days, on Tuesday. “Why were steps not taken to file the review petition immediately after the SC issued the orders on September 5” she questions.

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