Chennai, Nov 29 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today said despite having adequate storage in its reservoirs, Karnataka flatly refused to release the State's bare minimum requirement of 30 tmc of water to save the standing Samba crops in 14.93 lakh acres, which were facing the prospect of withering.
Talking to reporters on his arrival from Bangalore after meeting her Karnataka counterpart Jagadish Shettar on the vexed Cauvery issue as per the Supreme Court advice, she said the present active storage level in Mettur reservoir was only 6.34 tmc ft after accounting for dead storage (5 tmc ft) and drinking water requirements (5 tmc ft). This water would last only for six days, she added. "After that unless there is further release of water from Karnataka for Mettur Dam, the standing samba crop will wither.
"We need to save the standing samba crop by providing 65 days of steady irrigation for farmers in delta area", she added. She said she had explained in great detail and requested Karnataka to release 30 tmc ft of water, which was the very bare minimum. Ms Jayalalithaa told Karnataka that it has to maintain some allocation if the standing samba crops were to be saved as Tamil Nadu had to provide 65 days uninterrupted irrigation supply to farmers.
"I requested Karnataka to at least release 30 tmc ft of water for 15 days. 'But the Karnakata Chief Minister just flatly refused saying they are not in a position to release any water at all", she added.Ms Jayalalithaa said she told her Karnataka counterpart that he could not flatly refuse, saying "we have asked for 30 tmc ft. Please tell us how much you can release?' But Mr Shettar and the Karnataka Irrigation Minister have been repeating that they could not release any water at all.
Noting that Supreme Court had asked both the Chief Ministers to discuss the issue in a give and take atmosphere, Ms Jayalalithaa asked "when Karnataka flatly refused any water, what is it we can take?'. Since Tamil Nadu was a lower riparian state, Karnataka had flatly refused any water, she said, adding, her government would convey the outcome of the talks to the Supreme Court when the petition filed by Tamil Nadu, seeking a direction to Karnataka to release water, comes up for hearing tomorrow. "We will go back to the Supreme Court and say that this is the outcome of the talks and that Karnataka has flatly refused any water", she said.
Ms Jayalalithaa said according to Karnataka's own admission it has 39 tmc ft of water. "They have only standing sugarcane crops which needed 3 tmc ft. Another 6 tmc ft is enough for their drinking water needs. The balance left if 30 tmct ft and we are asking Karnataka to release that...but they flatly refused",she added. To a question, she said she had been repeatedly pressing the Centre to notify the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in the government gazette. "I had also personaly spoken to the Prime Minister several times, but there has been no response", she claimed.