Cauvery water row: Karnataka to request PM to stay order

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 29, 2012 12:39 hrs

Bangalore: The Karnataka government today decided to press Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again to stay the September 19 order of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) headed by him directing the state to release 9,000 cusecs of water daily to Tamil Nadu from September 20 to October 15.

The decision was taken after Supreme Court directed the state to implement the CRA order on Friday.

"Had the CRA stayed the order (as sought in a review petition filed before it by Karnataka government on September 19), we would not have faced such a problem (yesterday's Supreme Court order)", Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told reporters today.

After meeting with Cabinet colleagues, opposition leaders and legal experts, Mr Shettar said that in view of the top court's order, it was decided to request the Prime Minister again to give an "interim stay".

"We will file the petition in a short period of time. We will fax it. We will request him to pass the order by this evening," said Mr Shettar, flanked by Water Resources Minister Basavaraja Bommai, Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, who holds the Home and Transport portfolios, and Law Minister S Suresh Kumar.

"We will press the Prime Minister to order interim stay.... Based on it (the response), we will take a decision (future course of action)," he said.

The Supreme Court yesterday pulled up the Karnataka government for failing to comply with the Prime Minister-headed CRA directive to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

A bench of justices DK Jain and Madan Lokur also warned Karnataka that if it failed to comply with the CRA directive, it will have to pass appropriate orders.

"This is the order passed by the CRA, headed by the Prime Minister. You don't want to comply with it. We are very sorry for the kind of respect you have for the highest authority. You comply with the directive or we will pass the order," the bench had told the counsel appearing for the Karnataka government.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah (Congress) criticised the BJP government's handling of the issue, including for not filing a petition on CRA order before the Supreme Court.

In addition, Karnataka's team of counsel headed by Fali S Nariman did not appear before the Supreme Court on Friday and only an "advocate on record" (VN Raghupathy) was present, he claimed.

"We did not get a satisfactory reply from the government on their absence," he said.

Mr Siddaramaiah said that Mr Nariman should have argued the case on Friday and tried to convince the court on the ground realities in Karnataka, which had only 69 TMC feet of water in all its four reservoirs and there was a shortage of 85 TMC feet of water.

He claimed Tamil Nadu has sufficient water (about 47 TMC feet in Mettur dam). "They don't need water now immediately".

Mr Siddaramaiah charged the state government with lapses in legal battle on the Cauvery issue. "We are not satisfied by their conduct".

Mr Siddaramaiah and JDS leader HD Revanna urged the government to continue with the legal battle to protect the interests of the state and its farmers.

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