News Brief

Cauvery Water Dispute: Protests Erupt In Karnataka; Supreme Court Refuses To Intervene Against Orders To Release Water

Nayan Dwivedi

Sep 21, 2023, 03:42 PM | Updated 03:42 PM IST

Tamil Nadu versus Karnataka over Cauvery water dispute.
Tamil Nadu versus Karnataka over Cauvery water dispute.

Protests have erupted in Karnataka following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the orders of Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC), directing the state to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

Demonstrations, across the Cauvery river basin districts of Karnataka, have been organised by farmer organisations and pro-Kannada groups in cities like Mysuru, Mandya and Bengaluru, expressing their displeasure and calling on the state government not to release water to Tamil Nadu.

In Mysuru, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene, both farmer organisations, have led protests at Basaveshwara Circle. They have raised slogans demanding justice and questioned the feasibility of releasing water at this time.

As a form of protest, these organisations have also planned to besiege the Command Area Development Authority office in Mysuru.

A prominent farmer leader has highlighted that the Cauvery and Kabini basin taluks have already been declared as drought-hit. They allege that the CWMA's orders are biased in favour of Tamil Nadu, as they seemingly disregard the current water levels in reservoirs, standing crops, and the essential drinking water requirements of Karnataka.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike staged a protest in Gandhinagar, urging the state government to abstain from releasing water to Tamil Nadu under any circumstances.

T A Narayana Gowda, the chief of Vedike, expressed deep disappointment and referred to it as a "black day" for Karnataka. He contended that the Supreme Court's endorsement of the CWMA's orders represented a setback and called for defiance, emphasising the need to act based on the actual ground situation.

In response to the protests, Gowda and several Vedike activists were detained and taken away in police vehicles.

Several activists urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to make a resolute decision in the state's best interests and refrain from releasing water.

R Ashoka, a BJP leader and former minister, accused Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar of betraying the people of Karnataka for the political interests of the Congress party, rather than prioritising the state's welfare.

The CWMA had requested Karnataka to extend the release of 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for an additional 15 days, aligning with a similar recommendation from the CWRC last week.

Karnataka has consistently argued that it cannot release water to Tamil Nadu due to its own requirements, such as drinking water and the needs of crops in the Cauvery basin areas, owing to deficient monsoon rains.

Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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