No Cauvery water to release, Karnataka tells visiting TN officials

No Cauvery water to release, Karnataka tells visiting TN officials

A team of officials from Tamil Nadu on Saturday requested Karnataka to release three tmcft of water from the Cauvery basin on humanitarian grounds.

However, Karnataka Chief Secretary Subhash Khuntia expressed helplessness on the grounds that there was severe water shortage in the basin. The available water in the four reservoirs of the Cauvery basin could only meet the demand for drinking water in the summer months, he said.

A four-member official team from Tamil Nadu headed by its Public Works Department Principal Secretary S K Prabhakar held the meeting with Khuntia in Vidhana Soudha to request water for drinking. The meeting lasted for an hour. Khuntia told reporters after the meeting, “Tamil Nadu has requested us to release water. We have explained our constraints to release water because of the severe shortage in the basin. It is difficult to meet Tamil Nadu’s request. But we are ready to help in the coming days when the water availability increases.”

The chief secretary said Tamil Nadu has not requested Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs per day, as directed by the apex court. At the meeting, the court order did not figure. Water is sought on humanitarian grounds. The total water availability in the basin is just 8.8 tmcft. The state’s requirement is three tmcft per month. “We can somehow manage till June. But if we get rains, then the request for release of water could be considered,” he added.

Addressing reporters in Bengaluru, JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda said Tamil Nadu farmers are staging a protest in Delhi over the Cauvery water sharing issue. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is supporting the protesters.

It is projected in the media at the national level that there is sufficient water in the Cauvery basin. “But politicians of Karnataka are not raising their voice. Farmers in Mysuru are in distress due to paucity of water. BJP MPs from Karnataka should take up the cause of our farmers in Parliament. I am ready to take a media team from Delhi by helicopter to the Cauvery basin to show the empty reservoirs,” he said.

Gowda said he would visit Mysuru on Sunday to understand the plight of farmers.

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