Karnataka urges PM to call CMs’ meeting on Cauvery row

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Bengaluru, Sep 9 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of chief ministers at short notice for resolving the Cauvery river water impasse with Tamil Nadu.

“I request you not only as the Prime Minister, but also as head of the federal system to call a meeting of the chief ministers of the states concerned at a few hour’s notice to resolve the impasse,” Siddaramaiah said in a letter to Modi on a day when Karnataka was shut down in protest against the release of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu following a Supreme Court order.

Citing a precedent when over 20 years ago, the Supreme Court had requested the then Prime Minister to resolve a similar issue, the Karnataka Chief Minister said the ongoing ‘unrest’ over the sensitive issue will have a serious impact on the state’s economy as also the IT economy, which brought considerable revenue and foreign exchange to the country.

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“The Supreme Court on December 28, 1995, had requested the then Prime Minister to resolve the issue of implementation of its order, which was then duly done to the satisfaction of all parties,” Siddaramaiah recalled.

Drawing Modi’s attention to the extreme unrest in the Cauvery basin, especially in Bengaluru on the release of 15,000 cusecs of the river water daily to Tamil Nadu for 10 days from Wednesday in compliance with the apex court order, the Congress Chief Minister said: “If it (releasing water) continued (beyond September 16), it would deprive not only the residents of Bengaluru of drinking water, but also farmers living in the river basin who use the water for growing crops.

“The unrest, if it continued, will also adversely impact the livelihood of the common man in large parts of the state,” the letter said.

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In this context, the Chief Minister referred to the present storage in the Mettur reservoir in Tamil Nadu and observed that the northeast rainfall in the neighbouring state would be more than sufficient to meet the water requirement for Samba crop sown by farmers in the lower riparian state.

Siddaramaiah brought to Modi’s attention the state Bharatiya Janata Party leaders’ alleged view that the apex court order ought not be implemented.

“As a constitutional chief executive of the state, I have taken it upon myself to obey the Supreme Court order to release the water though it had caused more unrest and disquiet in the state,” the Chief Minister said in his letter.

The letter concluded with the hope for a favourable response from the Prime Minister.

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