Houses resolve to release water only for drinking

Last Updated 23 September 2016, 21:15 IST
The state legislature on Friday resolved to utilise the available water in the Cauvery reservoirs only for drinking requirements of Bengaluru and other towns and villages, sending a clear message that it cannot release more water to Tamil Nadu.

The unanimous resolution passed in the special session implies that Karnataka will not implement the September 20 order of the Supreme Court to release 6,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to 27.

However, there is no reference to the Supreme Court order in the resolution. The state government is likely to submit a copy of the resolution to the court during the next hearing on September 27, where it is expected to explain that it is bound by the legislature’s directive.

“We have the highest respect for the judiciary. We have no intention to go against the Supreme Court order. We don’t even think of doing such a thing (defying the court order). But now, we have no option but to save the available water for drinking,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told the Assembly.

The Upper and Lower Houses had confined their discussion to a single subject: water crisis due to low levels in the four reservoirs of the Cauvery basin.

The resolution was passed by a voice vote in both the Houses. Members of the Treasury and Opposition benches also declared that they were ready to face consequences for their decision.

The resolution was moved by Opposition leader Jagadish Shettar and JD(S) MLA Y S V Datta in the Assembly, while Congress member S Ravi moved it in the Council. The carefully worded resolution comprising four paragraphs made it clear that meeting the drinking water needs of the people of the state was the top priority.

“It is now resolved that in this state of acute distress, it is imperative that the government ensures that no water from the present storages be drawn, except for meeting the drinking water requirements of the villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and for the entire city of Bruhat Bengaluru,” the resolution stated. Though the distress situation is acute, the actual shortfall in the basin will be known only by the end of the season, January 2017.

The combined storage in the four reservoirs of Krishna Raja Sagar, Hemavathy, Harangi and Kabini has reached 27.6 tmcft. “The resolution is unanimously passed after carefully considering the needs of the inhabitants of the state of Karnataka whose interests are likely to be gravely jeopardised if water in the four reservoirs is in any way reduced – other than for meeting the drinking requirements of the inhabitants in the Cauvery basin, including the entire city of Bengaluru,” the resolution added.
(Published 23 September 2016, 21:15 IST)

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