In an unprecedented move in the more than century-old Cauvery dispute with the neighbouring state, both the Legislative Assembly and the Council adopted the resolution not to provide water for any other purpose except to meet drinking needs, citing "acute distress" and "alarmingly low levels" in its dams.
"An impossible situation wherein it is not possible to comply with a court order has been created," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, as he wrapped up the day-long proceedings in the Assembly, which rallied behind the government cutting across party lines.
Siddaramaiah maintained that the state was in "severe distress" and struggling to meet even the drinking water needs in the Cauvery basin while repeatedly stressing that his government held the judiciary in great respect, and there was no intention to disobey the Supreme Court order.
"Nobody should construe as if we are challenging the Supreme Court," he said, adding, his government had equal respect for all the three organs-- legislature, executive and judiciary, "more so for the Judiciary."
"People have given us a mandate. We cannot defy it," he said, asserting, otherwise, "it would be a dereliction of duty on our part."
Prefacing his remarks on the water crisis in the state, Siddaramaiah said, "We have great respect for the judiciary. The intention is not to disobey the judicial order. We will not think of it even in our dreams."
Siddaramaiah said the four dams as of today had a storage of 27.6 TMC of water but "from today to May end we need 24.11 TMC water for drinking purpose for cities, towns, villages in the Cauvery basin and the whole of Bengaluru city."
"This is only for human consumption, other than this we need to provide water to cattle and animals. Water also gets evaporated. While we are struggling to provide even drinking water until May end....this is our distress. They (Tamil Nadu) are asking for water for Samba crop," he said.
He said the Mettur dam in Tamil Nadu had 52 TMC ft of water while farmers in Karnataka were "making sacrifices (with no water for crops)."
Siddaramaiah also said according to the National Water Policy, the priority was for drinking water, followed by irrigation and power generation.
"For us, farmers are one-- be it in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka or Kerala," he said.
Armed with an all-party meeting mandate, the state Cabinet had on Tuesday decided to defer the release of water to Tamil Nadu and convene a day's legislature session amid escalating row between the two neighbouring states.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:06 PM IST