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Tribunal verdict on Cauvery
Karnataka cries foul; bandh called
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 5
Karnataka seems to be heading towards confrontation with the Centre, with the Kannada Rakshina Vedika today announcing that it would force the closure of all Central Government offices in the state tomorrow to protest against the "step-motherly" treatment meted out to the state by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

The Rakshina Vedika announced that it would not allow any Central Government official to function in the state tomorrow. It also announced to intensify its agitation in the coming days and announced that it would take part in the Karnataka bandh announced by various Kannada organisations for February 8.

Meanwhile, all schools and colleges have been closed in the state for tomorrow as a precautionary measure even as security is being beefed up in the districts falling in the Cauvery basin as well as Bangalore district.

The award announcement had its effect in the city today also with most schools and colleges closing down in the afternoon itself. IT enterprises and some commercial establishments also closed down offices in the afternoon itself.

Forced to make a statement in the state Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa announced that the Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP government was committed to filing a review petition before the Tribunal to safeguard the interests of the state.

However, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was more circumvent. He declined to give his comment on the issue, saying the state was yet to receive a copy of the order. He announced that he had called an all-party meeting tomorrow, in which irrigation experts had also been invited to discuss the award. A Cabinet meeting is also slated to be held before the all-party meeting.

Mr Kumaraswamy, however, appealed for calm and urged the people not to get emotional over the issue. "I appeal to the people of the state to help the government in taking necessary steps within the legal framework to safeguard the interests of farmers," he added.

Opposition leaders, while commenting on the award in the Assembly, called it a "grave injustice" which should be fought "tooth and nail". Pradesh

Congress President Mallikarjuna Kharge said such “injustice” against the state should not be tolerated. Earlier, the issue was raised by Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj, who also staged a black flag demonstration to protest against the "injustice" meted out to Karnataka.

Meanwhile, there were reports of stray incidents in the state which, however, did not go out of hand due to a massive police bandobast. Farmers blocked the Maddur highway at Mandya town besides holding demonstrations to protest against the award. Farmers in Mandya district, which forms part of the Cauvery basin, are likely to be affected by the award.

Normal life was thrown out of gear, with bus services between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu being withdrawn after the announcement of the award. Schools and Colleges also closed early today with managements not taking the risk of any untoward incident. Most IT companies in the city asked employees to go home at 3 p.m. shortly after the award announcement.

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Karunanidhi satisfied with Cauvery verdict
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, February 5
As Tamil Nadu today welcomed the verdict of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal that allocated 419 TMC feet of water annually to Tamil Nadu and 270 TMC feet to Karnataka, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said, "I welcome the decision and will discuss the issue with party leaders, lawyers and farmers to decide on the next course of action".

Addressing newspersons at the DMK headquarters here, a visibly-elated Mr Karunanidhi said justice has been done to Tamil Nadu after a long wait of 38 years and thanked former Prime Minister V.P. Singh who had constituted the tribunal in 1990. “I have had meetings with 11 Karnataka chief ministers and many union ministers over this issue, but in vain,” he added.

In the much-awaited final verdict after more than 16 years of hearings, the Tribunal also awarded 30 TMC feet of Cauvery river water to Kerala and 7 TMC feet to Puducherry, the other parties to the dispute.

When asked about the proposed bandh in Karnataka over the verdict, the Chief Minister replied, "I appeal to the people of Karnataka to accept the verdict and remain peaceful."

A farmer from the Cauvery basin in Tamil Nadu said, "The verdict is fair. It is much better than what was given in 1976."

The Tribunal, set up in 1990, had in its interim order given 205 TMC feet of water to Tamil Nadu.

Though Tamil Nadu had initially asked for 562 TMC feet, it has been allotted 419 TMC feet and Karnataka, which had asked for 465 TMC feet, has been allotted only 270 TMC feet, to the displeasure of the ruling Kumaraswamy government there.

Headed by retired judge Justice N.P. Singh, the three-member tribunal, set up in 1990, had arrived at the total availability of water at 740 TMC feet. The actual release of 192 TMC feet will take place as measured at the Biligundlu reservoir on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.

Under the final verdict, the monthly release by Karnataka has been scheduled as 10 TMC feet in June, 34 in July, 50 in August, 40 in September, 22 in October, 15 in November, 8 in December, 3 in January and 2.5 each in February, March, April and May.

"Since the major shareholders in the Cauvery waters are Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, we order that tentative monthly deliveries during the normal year be made available by the state of Karnataka at the inter-state contact point presently identified as Biligundlu," the Tribunal said, in its 1,000-page order .

The verdict can be challenged by any of the parties in court.

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