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Sep 29, 2012 at 06:08pm IST

Cauvery water dispute: Karnataka to request PM to stay CRA order

Bangalore: The Karnataka government on Saturday decided to send a petition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Cauvery River water dispute. It will request Singh to stay the September 19 order of Cauvery River Authority, headed by him, directing the state to release 9,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu from September 20 to October 15.

"The order asks Karnataka to abide by the CRA's order of releasing 9,000 cusecs of water. We are planning to file a petition to the PM by this (Saturday) evening requesting him to bring a stay on CRA's order," said Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.

"Had the CRA stayed the order (as sought in a review petition filed before it by the Karnataka government), we would not have faced such a problem (yesterday's Supreme Court order)", Shettar added.

Speaking after holding meetings with Cabinet colleagues, Opposition leaders and legal experts, he said in view of Friday's order, it was decided to request the Prime Minister again to give an "interim stay".

"We will file the petition shortly. We will fax it. We will request him to pass the order by this evening," said Shettar, flanked by Water Resources Minister Basavaraja Bommai, Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, who also holds the Home and Transport portfolios, and Law Minister S Suresh Kumar.

"We will press the Prime Minister to order interim stay… Based on it (the response), we will take a decision (future course of action)," he said.

The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Karnataka government for failing to comply with the Prime Minister-headed CRA directive to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

A bench of justices DK Jain and Madan Lokur also warned Karnataka that if it failed to comply with the CRA directive, it will have to pass appropriate orders.

"This is the order passed by the CRA, headed by the Prime Minister. You don't want to comply with it. We are very sorry for the kind of respect you have for the highest authority. You comply with the directive or we will pass the order," the bench had told the counsel appearing for the Karnataka government.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah (Congress) criticised the BJP government's handling of the issue, including for not filing a petition on CRA order before the Supreme Court.

In addition, Karnataka's team of counsel headed by Fali S Nariman did not appear before the Supreme Court on Friday and only an "advocate on record" (V N Raghupathy) was present, he claimed. "We did not get a satisfactory reply from the Government on their absence," he said.

Nariman should have argued the case on Friday and tried to convince the Supreme Court on the ground realities in Karnataka, which had only 69 TMC ft of water in all its four reservoirs and there was a shortage of 85 TMC ft of water, Siddaramaiah said.

He claimed Tamil Nadu has sufficient water (about 47 TMC ft in Mettur dam). "They don't need water now immediately". Siddaramaiah charged the state government with lapses in legal battle on the Cauvery issue. "We are not satisfied by their conduct".