Cauvery issue: Uma convenes meet of K’taka, TN ministers
In line with the Supreme Court’s fresh order, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has convened a meeting of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu ministers on Thursday to find a political solution to the “impasse” over Cauvery water dispute.
The apex court had on Tuesday asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to facilitate a meeting of the executive heads of the two warring riparian states with the Centre over the next two days to find a solution to the dispute.
It has also asked Karnataka to discharge 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till Friday despite its Assembly resolution.
According to an official source, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is scheduled to attend the trilateral meet, while his Tamil Nadu counterpart J Jayalalithaa, currently recuperating at a Chennai hospital, will depute state PWD Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy to represent the state in the discussion.
“Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti to chair a meeting on Thursday on Cauvery with CM of Karnataka and PWD Minister of Tamil Nadu,” tweeted Union Water Resources Ministry spokesperson Samir Sinha.
Ministers in charge of water resources departments and chief secretaries of the two states will also be present in the meeting.
The Union minister will attempt to resolve the issue “amicably” keeping in view the series of protests and violence which erupted in the two states last month after the Supreme Court’s orders on the issue, an official source said.
The Karnataka government has been expressing its inability to release the quantum of water as directed by the apex court, saying its four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin do not have adequate storage and is struggling to even meet its own drinking water requirement.
Meanwhile, Congress MPs from Karnataka have demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in this matter and also urged him to ensure the Cauvery Water Management Board is not constituted as directed by the apex court.
They had also staged protest in Parliament complex on Tuesday over the issue.
Earlier in the day, opposition parties in Karnataka had asked the Siddaramaiah government not to release the 6,000 cusecs of water on Thursday for Tamil Nadu as per the apex court’s latest order.
Asked whether not releasing water for a day will attract contempt of court, he said “...we will discuss it on Thursday, for us there is a direction by the legislature also. Whatever water we have in our reservoirs we have to reserve it for drinking water, that we have to keep in mind also, and we have to go by the direction of the legislature also.
“So keeping all this in mind and also the direction given by the Supreme Court we will discuss on Thursday in the meeting of the Chief Ministers and afterwards let us see what will be the decision that will come out,” he said.
To a question whether the government was hoping for a compromise and the
Centre would be sympathetic, Siddaramaiah said, “at this moment, I can’t say anything. I am going on Thursday.
I will attend the meeting. I will put forward our case. Let us see what will come out.” Asked whether Thursday’s meeting would decide the state’s future legal strategy, he said, “it is premature to answer all this”.