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New Delhi/Bangalore: The Supreme Court yesterday directed Karnataka to “forthwith” release 2.44 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu for irrigating its standing crops, but the state said it would explore all options.
A bench of Justice R M Lodha, Justice J Chelameswar and Justice Madan B Lokur said Karnataka would release the water forthwith.
However, Karnataka was not moved.
“We will not release the water in a hurry and will explore all options,” Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai told the Karnataka assembly in Bangalore soon after the apex court order.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told the house that “it (directive to release water forthwith) is a matter of serious concern”.
Later, Shettar and Bommai flew to New Delhi to consult legal experts on whether the state could approach the apex court to withdraw or modify its directive as Karnataka was facing severe water shortage.
Shettar and Bommai told the house that in the past the Supreme Court’s directives were accompanied by a schedule to release the water over a period of time.
“This time the order is for forthwith release and this is of grave concern,” Bommai said as opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular members demanded that the state government take all steps to get the directive rescinded.
Both Shettar and Bommai refuted the opposition’s charge that the Bharatiya Janata Party government had failed to provide to the Supreme Court all details of the grave shortage of water the state was facing following failure of the monsoon.
The apex court’s order came after it received an expert committee’s report, following the panel’s visit to the Cauvery basin in Tamil Nadu, that 2.44 tmc of water be released for standing crops.