Bengaluru bandh: BJP, JD(S) politicising Cauvery issue, says Siddaramaiah

'They are doing it for the sake of politics': Karnataka chief minister

Siddaramaiah Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said it's important to build the Mekedatu balancing reservoir across Cauvery river in order to resolve the dispute with Tamil Nadu | Bhanu Prakash Chandra/PTI

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday slammed opposition parties, BJP and JD(S), of politicising the Cauvery row and dismissed claims that the Congress government in the state failed to protect the interests of the state, its people and farmers.

Siddaramaiah said it's important to follow the distress water-sharing formula and build the Mekedatu balancing reservoir across Cauvery river in order to resolve the dispute with Tamil Nadu.

His remarks come amid a bandh declared in Bengaluru on Tuesday by farmers and Kannada organisations and backed by the BJP and JD(S) to protest the release of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. The strike evoked partial response, with most public services functioning normally.

"It is most unfortunate that BJP and JD(S) are politicising the Cauvery issue. They are doing it for the sake of politics and not in the interest of the state or its people," Siddaramaiah told reporters.

Speaking to reporters, he said everyone has the right to protest but the court has ruled against bandhs and hence section 144 was invoked.

Pointing out that so far there has been no distress formula on sharing Cauvery during drought years, the CM said, "We have been seeking a distress formula. We have been pressuring the Supreme Court on this and before the tribunal also. When there is a deficit of rain, there will be distress in both states. In such a situation we have to share the distress, for which a distress formula is needed," he said.

He said that another solution is to construct the Mekedatu balancing reservoir with a storage capacity of 67 tmc (thousand million cubic feet) water. During excess rain, water can be stored in the reservoir and released to Tamil Nadu during drought, helping both states, the CM said.

Siddaramaiah said his government has sought help from PM to send a team of central experts to visit the state and give a ground report. "There has been no response to my letter so far...ask BJP which has 25 MPs to put pressure on the PM on this," he added.

-- with PTI inputs

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