Cauvery row: Karnataka's refusal spells calamity for TN farmers

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Cauvery row. (PTI) Cauvery row. (PTI)
SummaryJayalalithaa said she had demanded a 'bare minimum' of 30 tmcft of water but Karnataka flatly refused.

Talks between Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on Cauvery water sharing row, held at the suggestion of the Supreme Court, today failed to break the ice with both sides sticking to their known hard positions.

After more than an hour-long meeting, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said she had demanded a "bare minimum" requirement of 30 tmcft of water but Karnataka flatly refused, saying it could not release even a single drop of water.

Expressing state's inability, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said there was a distress in the state and it was not in a position to release water to Tamil Nadu.

The meeting came as a follow up to the apex court's suggestion to both the Chief Ministers to meet and arrive at an amicable solution to the "sensitive" water dispute, dogging both the states for decades.

This was the second time in 15 years that Chief Ministers of the two states had bilateral talks on the water row after 1997 when M Karunanidhi and J H Patel met in Chennai.

"....So, we will go back to Supreme Court tomorrow and inform it about the outcome of today's meeting..." Jayalalithaa said.

Shettar said Karnataka had only 37 tmcft of water in its reservoir of which 20 tmcft was required for drinking water supply to Bangalore, other cities and some rural areas. The state also explained the severe drought situation faced by it.

Making a strong pitch for release of water, Jayalalithaa said she told her counterpart that if there was no further release from Karnataka, the "samba" crop would wither and die.

"And that will be a calamity for the farmers of Tamil Nadu," she said, insisting that Karnataka should spare 30 tmcft "which is the bare minimum requirement to save our standing samba crops and this should be released over the next 15 days".

"But despite all our discussions, despite all our pleadings, the Karnataka government was firm in saying that it could not release even a single drop of water. So this is the outcome of the meeting. Karnataka has flatly refused to release any water to Tamil Nadu," she said.

As the wrangling between the two states persisted over sharing water during the distress period, the Supreme Court had on Monday suggested that both Chief Ministers should give talks a try and meet in a congenial mannner and discuss the issue in the larger interest of farmers of both states.

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