New Delhi: The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday filed a contempt petition against Karnataka in the Supreme Court over its decision to stop the release of water from Cauvery river to the state. Karnataka had on Monday stopped releasing Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu, hours after the state informed the Supreme Court that it was in no position to continue the water flow from Monday night. The five crest gates of Krishanaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir in Mandya, about 80 km from Bangalore, through which Cauvery water was being released to Tamil Nadu were shut.
Hundreds of farmers gathered at the reservoir to try to prevent water release raised slogans welcoming the stoppage when Janata Dal-Secular legislator CS Puttaraju, who had led them, confirmed that water flow had stopped. Earlier on Monday, Karnataka Law Minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters in New Delhi that senior counsel Fali Nariman representing the state had informed the Supreme Court that the state was in no position to release the water from Monday night.
There was no comment from the court on this submission nor did Tamil Nadu advocates raise objection to it, he said. The submission was made when the Supreme Court was hearing Karnataka's plea to immediately allow the state to stop water release to Tamil Nadu. Karnataka moved the court as it had on September 28 pulled it up for not obeying the September 19 ruling of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as head of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) that it should release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu from September 20 to October 15.
Karnataka began releasing water on September 29 which had led to daily protests in Bangalore and Cauvery basin districts of Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajanagar - 80 km, 130 km and about 200 km respectively from Bangalore. Karnataka had also been pleading with the prime minister to review and stay his ruling.
The Supreme Court bench of bench of Justice DK Jain and Justice Madan B Lokur also clarified that their September 28 order "shall not in anyway be an impediment in the way of chairman CRA to take decision on review application by the Karnataka government". Soon after the clarification, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar announced in New Delhi that the state would file another appeal to the CRA to withdraw the September 19 order.
Earlier in the day, a delegation of central ministers from Karnataka, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who hails from Mandya, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Minister of State for Railways KH Muniyappa met Manmohan Singh and urged him to immediately review his September 19 ruling. A team of 16 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliament members from the state also met Manmohan Singh with the same plea.
However, immediate review by the prime minister was unlikely as the central government stand is that he gave the ruling as CRA head and only a meeting of CRA can do so. The CRA, headed by the prime minister, comprises central water resources minister and chief ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, all of which have a share in Cauvery water. Central Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was present when the two teams met Manmohan Singh, reiterated the stand on Monday. He told reporters after the meeting that the prime minister had given the ruling on September 19 as head of CRA. It was not the decision of the prime minister but of the CRA and the CRA would have to meet to review the decision, Bansal asserted.
(With additional information from IANS)