As the Supreme Court yesterday refused to interfere with the orders of the Cauvery Water Management Authority and the Regulation Committee, massive protests continued in various parts of Karnataka on Friday. The regulating committee's order previously had directed the state to release 5,000 cusecs of water to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
Since the very beginning, Karnataka has been maintaining that it is not in a position to release water, after taking into account its own need for drinking water and irrigation for standing crops in the Cauvery basin areas, as there has been water scarcity due to deficit monsoon rains.
About the protests
Expressing anger over the order of releasing 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, farmer organisations and pro-Kannada outfits on Friday staged huge protests in the Cauvery river basin districts of Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagara, Ramanagara, Bengaluru and other parts of the state. Protests have also spread to districts like Chitradurga, Ballari, Davangere, Koppal and Vijayapura.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists led by Praveen Shetty staged a protest in Bengaluru's K R Puram by blocking the highway. He and scores of activists were detained and taken away by the police.
VIDEO | Members of 'Karnataka Rakshana Vedike' detained in Bengaluru during their protest on Cauvery water dispute. pic.twitter.com/ECQRsXvVC0— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) September 21, 2023
As per media reports, farmers under the aegis of the Raitha Hitarakshana Samiti continued to protest near the statue of Sir M Visvesvaraya in Mandya.
The protesting farmers were today joined by Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji, the head of Adichunchanagiri Math, a prominent religious seminary in the old Mysuru region, which also falls within the ambit of Cauvery belt.
Addressing the protesting farmers, the seer said that the state and central government should present the facts before the Supreme Court and protect the interest of the farmers and people of the state.
He said the math will speak to the state government and central ministers on behalf of the farmers. "There is a need for a distress formula (for water sharing) at the earliest."
What does the state government say?
Karnataka BJP leaders met under the leadership of former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai in Bengaluru to discuss the line of action the party should follow. Party presidents and leaders from Cauvery basin districts were present at the meet.
Stating that it is clear that the government has failed in the Cauvery issue and its consequences are being seen, Bommai said, "I have seen the (court) proceedings and our lawyers have not argued effectively".
References have not been made by lawyers regarding tribunal orders, importance of Bengaluru's water requirements, forthcoming monsoon rains in Tamil Nadu, and utilisation of water so far by the neighbouring state, he said, adding that this is causing disadvantage to Karnataka repeatedly.
Repeatedly highlighting this to the government has not been of any use, and enlightening the public is the only way now, Bommai said.
"We are discussing it in the BJP. One round of discussion has happened in Mandya, Mysuru, Ramanagara, Chamrajanagara and Hassan. We will protest there and also in Bengaluru. At the meeting we will discuss and decide the plan of action."
The CWMA on Monday asked Karnataka to continue releasing 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for another 15 days after the CWRC last week made such a recommendation.