New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's bid to resolve the row over Cauvery river water-sharing, by asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs every day between Sep 20 and Oct 15 to Tamil Nadu, failed miserably Wednesday with both states "unhappy" over the decision.
Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar expressed the inability to release the Cauvery water due to drought and walked out of the meeting after registering a protest over the ruling, while Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said her state would approach the Supreme Court to get its due.
The two chief ministers attended the seventh meeting of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) chaired by Manmohan Singh at his residence here along with Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and Kerala Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph, who was standing in for an indisposed Chief Minister Oomen Chandy.
The CRA meeting was convened after a gap of nine years, with the last meeting held in 2003 under the chairmanship of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
"After discussion, and based on the principle that distress needs to be shared among the basin states, the prime minister ruled that it was appropriate that Karnataka releases 9,000 cusecs of water daily from Sep 20 to Oct 15,," a union water resources ministry official said here after the meeting.
Karnataka has already been releasing 10,000 cusecs daily from Sep 12 on the directions of the Supreme Court. The CRA asked it to scale it down to 9,000 cusecs, but the state rejected the ruling.
"The Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) shall review the position by Oct 15, so that appropriate releases beyond Oct 15 may be decided in consultation with the state governments," the official said. The matter may be brought before the CRA, if required.
Shettar, interacting with reporters soon after, said: "We told the prime minister that the state is not in a position to release the water and walked out in protest."
The Karnataka chief minister said he explained the impact water release to Tamil Nadu would have on his state's farmers.
"This (PM's ruling) was not acceptable to us. We made this clear at the meeting," he added.
The state will now consult legal experts to present its case in the Supreme Court, the chief minister said, appealing to the people, particularly those agitating in the Cauvery basin areas of Mandya and Mysore, to maintain peace and assuring steps to protect their interests.
The Karnataka government also intends to hold an all-party meeting in Bangalore Sep 21.
Jayalalithaa, after coming out of the meeting, told reporters that the Tamil Nadu government will again approach the apex court to get its share of water from Karnataka, as the CRA award was unacceptable.
"So, I registered our protest on behalf of Tamil Nadu," she said, pointing out that she was "totally disappointed" over the CRA meet outcome.
Noting that Karnataka flatly refused to release any quantum of water to Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa said her state was left with no option but to move the Supreme Court again.
She said crop on 1.5 million acres needed to be saved with at least two thousand million cubic (tmc) feet of water for 24 days, which was not acceptable to Karnataka.
The Tamil Nadu chief minister also demanded a decision on a distress-sharing formula for sharing of Cauvery waters. But there was no consensus, she added.
The Supreme Court had earlier this month expressed its displeasure that the prime minister's office had not fixed a date for the CRA meeting.
Tamil Nadu had made a plea to the apex court for a direction to the central government to convene the CRA.
Karnataka had indicated that it would demand a new formula to share Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu and other states.