Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday said the state was the "victim" and not the villain in the Cauvery river water dispute as it was being portrayed by some people. "Some people at the national and international levels are saying Karnataka is not releasing water to Tamil Nadu. In a way, they are suggesting as if Karnataka is the villain. But, in reality, the state has been the victim and has been meted out injustice," he said.
Addressing a gathering on the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri at Gandhi Bhavan in Bengaluru, Siddaramaiah said in spite of the distress situation in the Cauvery basin, Karnataka had released a "substantial" quantum of water to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court's earlier direction. However, the September 30 directive of the apex court had left the state in a difficult situation, he said.
Even though the water in the four Cauvery reservoirs in the state was "inadequate", the state government's first priority was to meet the drinking water requirements of the people of the Cauvery basin, the chief minister said, adding that the state needed to conserve water till 2017. Meanwhile, state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister TB Jayachandra said the government would file a review petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitution of the Cauvery Water Management Board.
"We are filing a review petition. Of course, the law is there and the Inter-State Water Dispute Act is very clear. It (the board) has to be made by an Act of Parliament," he said. "I think it has not been submitted by any of the parties before the Supreme Court. I think, this is the ground for us and we will go for a revision," Jayachandra added.
The apex court had directed the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4. On September 30, it had taken Karnataka to task for its repeated "defiance" by flouting its orders on water release to Tamil Nadu and giving it a last chance, warning that no one would know when the "wrath of the law" would fall on it. The court had asked Karnataka to discharge 6,000 cusecs of water from October 1 to 6 to Tamil Nadu.
Jayachandra said the government would take further steps only after consultations on the floor of the Assembly. The Karnataka Cabinet had on Saturday decided to convene a legislature session on Monday for the second time to take a call on the apex court's directive.