Chennai: Irked by the Karnataka government’s decision to stop the release of Cauvery water, Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday decided to file a contempt petition “immediately” against its counterpart in the Supreme Court, saying its action amounted to impeding country’s federal structure.
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa chaired a review meeting with her senior cabinet colleagues and officials here to discuss the situation and directed them to file the plea. “In order to ensure that Tamil Nadu gets its due share of water, the Chief Minister has directed to file a contempt petition against Karnataka government which has unilaterally stopped releasing water, amounting to dishonouring the Supreme Court verdict,” an official release here said. The move by Karnataka also impeded the federal structure of the country, it said.
Karnataka had on Monday night stopped release of water from the Krishna Raja Sagar dam citing low storage in the reservoir, hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear only the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) can review its order directing the state to release 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu. The apex court had earlier endorsed the CRA ruling asking the upper riparian state to release 9000 cusecs from 20 September-15 October, a decision contested by both states, locked in the decades-long Cauvery dispute.
Meanwhile, a day after the government stopped release of water to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka farmers said they would continue their dharna till the CRA reviews its earlier directive.
“Till the CRA, headed by the Prime Minister, gives its verdict, we will continue the agitation,” former minister and leader of Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi (committee spearheading the stir) M.S. Atmananda told reporters at Mandya, hotbed of the Cauvery stir.
Karnataka has been requesting the CRA to stay its 19 September order asking the state to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily till 15 October and keep it in abeyance till the decision was subjected to review.
The Cauvery Monitoring Committee is expected to meet in Delhi on 11 October during which the reports of the two central study teams that visited both the states are likely to be debated.
Farmers claim that water was still flowing into Tamil Nadu though the irrigation department officials say crest gates have been shut.
Life in Mandya district, the hotbed of Cauvery politics, was limping back to normalcy after water discharge was stopped though farmers said they would continue their dharna till the CRA reviewed its 19 September directive.“We will continue the stir for two more days and await the outcome of the monitoring committee”, Atmananda said.
A group of farmers also blocked Mysore-Bangalore road on Tuesday demanding early review of CRA decision. Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi president G. Madegowda also continued his dharna.
Farmers would decide their future course of action after learning from the Supreme Court which had adjourned the state’s petition on the dispute to 12 October. The apex court had said its order directing Karnataka to supply 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu will not be an impediment in the Prime Minister deciding on the review plea.
Madegowda had earlier demanded an announcement from the state government on stoppage of water.
Police said they were continuing a tight vigil in the Cauvery basin area to prevent any untoward incidents.