Karnataka today stopped release of Cauvery water from the Krishna Raja Sagar dam citing depleted storage, hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear only the CRA can review its order directing the state to release 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu.
"As per the direction of Irrigation Department heads, we have closed down the five crest gates through which the water is flowing to Tamil Nadu", KRS chief executive engineer Vijayakumar told reporters here.
Water was being released from KRS and Kabini dams. Discharge from Kabini had been stopped two days ago, he said.
The water stoppage to Tamil Nadu came after Karnataka said it will file a review petition tomorrow before Cauvery River Authority headed by the Prime Minister who made known his position to Congress and BJP delegations which met him separately seeking review of CRA's September 19 directive.
The move also came on a day when Karnataka informed the Supreme Court with its counsel Fali Nariman telling the bench, "We will not be able to release anything more. It is physically impossible to release. There is already a surplus of 13,000 cusecs."
The KRS dam top official's announcement came even as Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said in Delhi that the state would file a review petition before the CRA tomorrow and demanded that Singh take up the issue immediately.
"... We will meet the Prime Minister tomorrow and file a review petition (of the CRA order)," he said.
Karnataka has been releasing 9,000 cusecs since September 30 in compliance with a Supreme Court order to honour the CRA directive.
The release of water has triggered sharp protests in Cauvery basin districts and Bangalore, which largely depends on the inter-state river for its drinking water needs.
The state unit BJP hailed the government decision to halt water release as a "bold initiative".
State unit BJP president K S Eswrappa urged the Union ministers representing Karnataka to mount pressure on the Prime Minister to convene a meeting of the CRA on the basis of central study team report and review the earlier decision.
Singh in his capacity as CRA Chairman had directed Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till October 15 and Supreme Court had also asked the state to honour the order.
The police have scaled up security in and around KRS and also in Mandya anticipating an order from the Supreme Court on the state's plea for staying the CRA directive, but the apex court adjourned the matter to October 12.
However, the court said there is no impediment in the Prime Minister reviewing his September 19 order on a petition filed by Karnataka before the CRA.
SP Koushalendra Kumar said about 20,000 personnel including Karnataka State Reserve Police, District Armed Reserve, Rapid Action Force and Border Security Force have been deployed in the district to ensure law and order.
Meanwhile, refusing to believe the official statement on stoppage of release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, a group of farmers tried to sneak on the premises of KRS Reservoir to convince themselves about the fact.
The irrigation officials, including Vijay Kumar, met the farmers and tried convincing them that the release of water has been stopped.
However, the farmers maintained that the water was still flowing into Tamil Nadu.
Cauvery Hitarakshana Samiti president Made Gowda, during his telephonic conversation with Shettar on being informed about the stoppage of water release, asked the CM to stick to his words.
Opposition Congress Leader in Assembly Siddaramaiah said he and his party would support the decision taken by the state government and assured to stand by it under any circumstances.
Hundreds of farmers are still camping at KRS Dam to ascertain the veracity of government's statement on stoppage of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.