The Supreme Court order directing Karnataka to release 2.44 TMC ft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu evoked protests from the opposition in the state assembly and the government promised them that legal opinion would be sought before deciding on future course of action.
As the agitated Congress and Janata Dal Secular urged the government against water release, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told the House that he and Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai will leave for Delhi on Thursday for consultation with advocates appearing for the state.
Shettar said the apex court's direction to Karnataka to release water forthwith is a matter of concern for farmers living in Cauvery basin and people of the state at large. He said the government would take strong steps to protect the interests of farmers in Cauvery basin.
The chief minister rejected Congress leader Siddaramaiah's demand for change of lawyers appearing for Karnataka on Cauvery issue and said the advocates have been placing all the facts on the existing situation including on drinking water problem and drought conditions.
"In spite of this, the SC has given instructions to release water to Tamil Nadu," he said.
Bommai said the government is not in a hurry to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. "We will consult our lawyers before taking any legal step in the matter," he said.
Siddaramaiah and JDS leader H D Revanna demanded that the government not release water. JDS members staged dharna for a brief spell urging that no water should be released.
Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi President G Madegowda too demanded that the state not release water to Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Janata Party President B S Yeddyurappa launched his Mysore-Bangalore Padayatra and demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party should be ready to sacrifice power to protect the interest of the state on Cauvery issue.