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September 23, 1999
Karnataka promises to abide by Cauvery River Authority's suggestion
Karnataka Chief Minister J H Patel tonight announced that the state would abide by the suggestion of the monitoring committee of the Cauvery River Authority, which meets in New Delhi tomorrow, to resolve the dispute with Tamil Nadu.
Patel said the state is not averse to releasing water to save the kuruvai crop in Tamil Nadu if it rains in the coming days.
He was addressing reporters after an emergency meeting of a Cabinet subcommittee at a corporate hospital in Bangalore where he is convalescing from an attack of jaundice.
The monitoring committee is meeting to consider Tamil Nadu's demand for 25 thousand million cubic feet of water to save the kuruvai crop.
Patel said he is prepared to attend a meeting on the issue if the prime minister decides to convene one.
Categorically denying that he had made a commitment to his Tamil Nadu counterpart to release water, Patel said he had only informed Chief Minister M Karunanidhi that Karnataka is also facing distress and would consider the request if the water position improves. Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu should share the distress and surplus, he added.
Patel wanted Karunanidhi to send a few ministers to study the situation in the state.
Chief Secretary B K Bhattacharya, who attended the meeting, later left for New Delhi to participate in the CRA meeting.
Patel looked weak, but sat through the meeting that lasted nearly an hour and was attended by senior ministers, including K N Nage Gowda (irrigation), C Byre Gowda (agriculture), P G R Sindhia (home), M P Prakash (rural development) and B Somashekhar (revenue).
The chief minister welcomed the monitoring committee meeting and said some people were resorting to cheap popularity on the issue. The meeting was a first step to resolve the dispute.
Already, it has started raining though the government has not issued any orders, he remarked in a lighter vein, referring to the heavy showers in Bangalore this evening.
He maintained that the state had released excess water to Tamil Nadu for three months from June. Now both states are facing difficulty.
He said the meeting also discussed the problems being created by officials in the implementation of developmental works citing the electoral code of conduct. The officials are playing "mischief" though the Election Commission had clarified that the Model Code of Conduct had been relaxed in states where the elections were over, he said.
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