NEW DELHI: Karnataka has said that it cannot release any more water from the River Cauvery to neighbouring Tamil Nadu till December, providing the latest installment in a war that involves the Supreme Court.
- The Karnataka government, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress, has told the top court that any additional water can be released only in December because Karnataka’s major cities are on the verge of running out of drinking water.
- Last week, the top court said that Karnataka, which is where the Cauvery originates, must supply 6,000 cusecs of water for a week (ending tomorrow) to help farmers in Tamil Nadu. Karnataka has not acted on this order.
- The order followed earlier directions for Karnataka to release more water than it had been sharing in recent months.
- Karnataka, including the capital of Bengaluru has witnessed violent protests over the water-sharing, provoking an appeal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calm.
- The Cauvery water dispute is decades old. But this month, buses and police cars have been set on fire as protesters in Karnataka slammed the government for agreeing reluctantly to Supreme Court orders to release water to help ease a shortage in Tamil Nadu.
- On September 11, one person was killed when the police opened fire to deal with a riot in Bengaluru over the water dispute. 15 policemen were wounded after protesters set cars and buses on fire and pelted people with stones. Another man fell to his death while running from the police.
- The Karnataka government has said that the protests threaten the economy of its bustling IT sector which includes huge offices of outsourcing giant Infosys and international tech giants such as Microsoft and Dell.
- In addition to Bengaluru, angry demonstrations were witnessed on the 93-mile highway that connects the capital to the city of Mysuru.
- 200 protestors were arrested earlier this month and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has warned of tough punishments for anyone involved in fresh violence.
- In 1990, the central government created a tribunal to examine the Cauvery conflict. In 2007, this tribunal delivered its verdict on how water should be shared between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala. However, the states have challenged the divide.