Complying with the Supreme Court directive, Karnataka today commenced release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, as the BJP Government's action came in for sharp criticism from opposition parties and triggered protests.
"As per the Supreme Court order, we have decided to release water", Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said defending the decision.
In an attempt to douse protests by farmers outfits, he said "we will file a review petition before the Supreme Court on Monday", against its order directing Karnataka to release 2.44 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu to save standing samba crop.
Irrigation authorities said about 1,250 cusecs of water was being released from this morning from the Krishnaraja Sagar Reservoir.
Members of the Raitha Sangha led by its President K S Puttannaiah resorted to a road blockade at Gejjalagere in the district demanding immediate halt to water release.
Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) supremo B S Yeddyurappa suspended his Mysore-Bangalore padayatra, launched to press the the Centre against notifying the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal's final award, and headed towards Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir to stage a protest against the water release.
Shettar should quit forthwith, Yeddyurappa, whose padayatra entered the third day reaching Maddur town, said.
"The BJP government is acting like an agent of Tamil Nadu. It should stop water release and lead a delegation to the Prime Minister to convince the distress situation in Karnataka", he demanded.
Due to failure of rains, the water storage in all the reservoirs in the Cauvery basin had depleted and the state was already facing acute shortage for drinking water.
Opposition Congress leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah also lashed out at the government for releasing water.
After holding consultations with floor leaders of both the Houses of legislatures yesterday, the government had announced its decision to file a petition in the apex court seeking review of its February 7 order directing the state to release 2.44 tmc ft of water citing depleted water storage level.
The Supreme Court gave the directive on a petition by Tamil Nadu seeking 12 TMC ft of water to save standing crops in delta districts.
Hundreds of KJP activists led by Yeddyurappa were taken into custody near KRS
reservoir when they tried to lay a siege to the dam demanding stoppage of water
release. They were later released.
Yeddyurappa accused the Shettar government of "betraying" people by releasing
In Bangalore, over 100 members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike were taken into
custody when they took out a protest denouncing water release.
In Mysore, Minister for Medical Education S A Ramdas was gheraoed by a Kannada
protagonist organisation and raised slogans against him.
Meanwhile, Mandya District Deputy Commissioner B N Krishnaiah extended the
prohibitory orders promulgated since yesterday in and around three kilometre
radius of KRS reservoir till February 14 as a precautionary measure.
Reports of protests have also come in from Chamarajnagar and other areas of
Cauvery basin districts.