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Only dialogue

The decision came after Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah held an all-party meeting to discuss the Supreme Court’s latest order on the matter, in which it directed the state to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to September 27. 

The apex court had initially asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water from the river to Tamil Nadu, but it later modified its order and reduced the volume to 12,000 cusecs. The verdict had led to widespread protests carried out by farmers in Karnataka, who argued that the state needed the water more. Following the protests in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu also witnessed similar scenes. 

This is yet another chapter in the decades-old dispute, which has descended from an unresolved water-sharing dispute to a full-blown clash of regional identities—Kannadigas versus Tamils. When southern Karnataka receives its full quota of monsoon rain, there is no real flare-up. 

A flashpoint arises when rains are inadequate in the catchment areas of the river, leaving four key Cauvery basin reservoirs below capacity. The inability of both states to conduct an honest and mature conversation on the amount of water they should share during distress years has prevented a final solution. Has the hope for a political solution between the two states faded away into oblivion?

Only a meaningful dialogue process between the two states can resolve the dispute. However, some believe that there is little hope for such dialogue since the dispute has become an emotive electoral issue. The political class from either state believes that they only gain from grandstanding on the issue. 
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