Bengaluru | In a move that can bring the state in conflict with judiciary, Karnataka today virtually refused to spare any more Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu as directed by the Supreme Court with a special legislature session adopting a unanimous resolution to use water only for drinking purpose.
In an unprecedented move in the more than century-old Cauvery dispute with the neighbouring state, both the Legislative Assembly and the Council adopted the resolution not to provide water for any other purpose except to meet drinking needs, citing “acute distress” and “alarmingly low levels” in its dams.
“An impossible situation wherein it is not possible to comply with a court order has been created,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, as he wrapped up the day-long proceedings in the Assembly, which rallied behind the government cutting across party lines.
The resolution which did not refer to the apex court direction to the state to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from September 21 to 27, came two days after the state cabinet decided to “defer” the release till today, following an all-party meeting on the issue.
Siddaramaiah maintained that the state was in “severe distress” and struggling to meet even the drinking water needs in the Cauvery basin while repeatedly stressing that his government held the judiciary in great respect and there was no intention to disobey the Supreme Court order.
“Nobody should construe as if we are challenging the Supreme Court,” he said, adding, his government had equal respect for all the three organs– legislature, executive and judiciary, “more so for judiciary.”
“People have given us a mandate. We cannot defy it,” he said, asserting, otherwise, “it would be a dereliction of duty on our part.”
Prefacing his remarks on the water crisis in the state, Siddaramaiah said, “We have great respect for the judiciary.
The intention is not to disobey the judicial order. We will not think of it even in our dreams.”
The resolution highlighted the “state of acute distress”, and said it was “imperative” that the government ensures that no water from the present storages be drawn “save and except” for meeting drinking water needs of villages and towns in the Cauvery basin and Bengaluru.
The interests of the inhabitants of the state are likely to be gravely jeopardised if water in the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin was in anyway reduced other than for meeting the drinking water needs of the people, it said.