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Thursday, 5 September, 2002, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Indian state shares disputed water
Karnataka rice fields
Farmers in Karnataka say they will suffer
The authorities in the southern Indian state of Karnataka say they have released water from a disputed river to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.

Officials said that to comply with court requirements nearly 1.25 billion cubic feet of water had been released on Thursday from the Kabini reservoir in Chamarajnagar district bordering Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been involved in a bitter dispute for several years over sharing water from the River Cauvery, which flows through both states.

Map
The chief minister of Karnataka, SM Krishna, said on Wednesday that although he was disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision, he will not seek a confrontation with the judges.

He called on Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who heads the body which is looking into the dispute, to make a final ruling as soon as possible.

Extra security had been put in place in parts of Karnataka following the Supreme Court ruling.

The police have sent in additional forces to the districts of Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajnagar, where the disputed River Cauvery flows, to prevent violence from flaring up.

Groups of farmers set up road blocks on the busy Bangalore-Mysore highway in protest against the court order.

Protests

The Indian Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Karnataka release 1.25bn cubic feet of water daily to Tamil Nadu in a dispute that has been dragging on for years.

Karnataka chief minister
Karnataka's SM Krishna: Deep in consultations
Karnataka has been saying it has no water to spare for Tamil Nadu because of poor rainfall.

The government is concerned that the latest turn in the century-old dispute over the sharing of waters could spark violent protests.

The kidnapping of a former Karnataka minister by the bandit Veerappan - a Tamil - has increased tensions between the two states.

Farmers

In 1991, an interim water tribunal order directing Karnataka to release 205bn cubic feet of water yearly to Tamil Nadu sparked off major anti-Tamil rioting in Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka, leaving at least 20 people dead.

Opposition leaders PGR Sindhia and Nage Gowda - both former ministers - said the court order went against the interests of farmers in the state.

They said the government should immediately seek a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority presided over by Prime Minister Vajpayee as Karnataka was not in a position to release water.

The authority is meant to make a final decision about water sharing between the two states.

See also:

05 Sep 02 | South Asia
27 Sep 99 | South Asia
24 Sep 99 | South Asia
13 Mar 00 | Science/Nature
02 Sep 02 | South Asia
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