The Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday staged a protest in Mandya district, demanding that the state not release any more water from the Cauvery river to Tamil Nadu.
The protests were held in Sanjay Circle of Mandya district with protestors questioning the Congress government in Karnataka for agreeing to release water to the neighbouring state when its own districts are facing water shortage for irrigation of standing crops.
BJP leader Ashwath Narayan, who was spearheading the protests said that we can’t protest on the express highway as we don’t want to disrupt the traffic there which is why we are staging protests here.
Lashing out at the Siddaramaiah government, he said, “When we don’t have the water for our own crops in Mandya and Madhur and water is not flowing in canals. How come we can release water to Tamil Nadu at this time?”
The BJP leader said that it is important for the state government to convey the farmers’ concerns to the Cauvery Water Management Authority and stop releasing water to Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has agreed to constitute a bench to hear the Cauvery river water-sharing dispute where Tamil Nadu has sought direction to Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of water daily for standing crops.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said it will constitute a bench to hear the case today itself after senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Tamil Nadu, sought an urgent hearing of the case.
The matter has been a controversial issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for decades and they have been locked in a battle over the sharing of water from the Cauvery River, which is a major source of irrigation and drinking water for millions of people in the region.
The Centre formed the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) on June 2, 1990, to adjudicate disputes between Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Puducherry with respect to the water-sharing capacities.
The government of Tamil Nadu has approached the apex court seeking fresh directions on the release of water.
Tamil Nadu in its fresh application sought direction to the State of Karnataka to immediately release 24,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) from its reservoirs and ensure the availability of the specified quantity of water at Biligundlu on the inter-State border for the remainder of the month for meeting the pressing demands of the standing crops.
It also urged the top court to direct Karnataka to ensure the release of 36.76 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) stipulated for September 2023 as per the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT)’s final award of February 2007 that was modified by the Supreme Court in 2018.
Tamil Nadu said Karnataka should make good the shortfall of 28.849 TMC water during the current irrigation year for the period between June 1 to July 31.
The Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on Sunday said that the state government has called an all-party meeting on the issue on August 23. (ANI)