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Karnataka: Oppn opposes release of water to TN as per SC’s fresh order

Bengaluru: The Opposition in Karnataka on Wednesday asked the state government at an all party meeting not to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, as ordered by the Supreme Court.

The state cabinet would meet later in the day to take a final decision on the matter, Parliamentary Affairs and Law Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters after the meeting called by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in the wake of the situation arising out of the apex court’s order on Tuesday.

Though the minister declined to divulge the views expressed by the Opposition leaders, they later told the media that they have opposed release of water.

“The Opposition – the BJP, JDS and Raitha Sangha – have expressed their views and we have heard them fully. Ultimately, the cabinet will sit and take a decision,” he said.

Floor leaders of both the Houses, MPs and district in-charge ministers from the Cauvery basin attended the meeting to take stock of the fresh development.

The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit had directed Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs water to Tamil Nadu till September 30, despite a resolution passed by the state legislature last week to use the water only for drinking purpose.

The Centre has also called a meeting of the two warring riparian states in New Delhi tomorrow to thrash out a solution to the raging row over release of water.

Asked if any suggestions were made advising the government to defer release of water till tomorrow, Jayachandra said he would not like to into the details for now.

“No, I don’t want to go into the details. We have considered and we have heard them (The opposition and the legal experts). We will take a final decision in the cabinet,” Jayachandra said.

Asked to react to the Opposition BJP Leader Jagadish Shettar’s suggestion not to release water today, Jayachandra said, “I wouldn’t like to comment on it now, but would do so after the cabinet meeting.”

On whether it would amount to contempt of court if Karnataka defers releasing water to Tamil Nadu, Jayachandra said, “At this point of time I do not want to react to it.”

Earlier, Shettar said BJP has suggested that the government should honour the September 23 legislature resolution signalling Karnataka’s inability to implement the court’s earlier direction to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from September 21 till September 27.

“Our party has placed our suggestion before the government to honour its decision taken during the special legislature session,” he said.

The legislature at its session on September 23 had adopted a unanimous resolution to use the water only to meet drinking water needs and not to provide it for any other purpose.

BJP also advised government not to release water, not before the chief ministers’ meeting to be chaired by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharati in Delhi on Thursday, Shettar said.

JDS spokesperson Y S V Datta said the government should not release water today as it would not matter much because the flow of water, anyhow, has increased after a few spells of rainfall in downstream areas of Cauvery basin.

He also said the government should not go back on its decision taken in the assembly.