New Delhi/Bangalore, Oct 8 : Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar Monday met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna in New Delhi, seeking his help to prevail upon the central government to provide relief to the state over Cauvery water release to Tamil Nadu.

Krishna, who hails from the Cauvery basin district of Mandya, about eight km from Bangalore, Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that "the entire state (Karnataka) is waiting with bated breath to get immediate relief as otherwise it will spell disaster for the population in the Cauvery basin."

Before Shettar's meeting with Krishna, a delegation of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parliament members from Karnataka called on the prime minister and sought modification of his Sep 19 order for release of 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from Sep 20 through to Oct 15.

The prime minister gave the ruling as head of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA).

Shettar's meeting with Krishna and the BJP MPs from Karnataka call on Singh come ahead of a hearing in the Supreme Court Monday of Karnataka's petition for immediate relief to the state.

Since Karnataka did not obey the CRA ruling, the Supreme Court Sep 28 rapped the state and directed it to release the water.

Karnataka is releasing 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu from Sep 29, a move which has led to daily protests in Bangalore and Cauvery basin districts of Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajanagar. From Bangalore, Mysore is 130 km and Chamarajanagar about 200 km.

Karnataka also observed a day-long shutdown Saturday, protesting water release.

In the light of increasing opposition to water release since Karnataka is suffering from a severe drought, the central government sent officials' teams both to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to study the situation.

The teams visited Cauvery basin areas in both states Friday and Saturday and are expected to submit their reports to the central government this week.

Karnataka has declared 150 of the state's 176 taluks or revenue subdivisions as drought hit. It says the drought is the worst in 40 years and water in the reservoirs across the Cauvery river is just adequate to meet its needs till the monsoon returns next June.

Besides Cauvery basin districts, Bangalore also is heavily dependent on Cauvery water.

Of its requirement of around 1,350 million litres daily (MLD), about 950 MLD is drawn from the Cauvery river, which rises in Talacauvery in Kodagu district, about 330 km from Bangalore, and traverses over 800 km through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before flows into the Bay of Bengal.


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