Bangalore: Pleading a truant monsoon and depleting levels in its reservoirs, a drought-hit Karnataka Thursday refused to release more Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, which decided to approach the Supreme Court Friday for relief. “We are not in a position to release any more water to Tamil Nadu, as the present combined storage in our reservoirs is 58 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet). With an additional 52 tmcft expected from regeneration and inflows, we will have 110 tmcft just to meet our requirements till next monsoon,” Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said.
He was speaking to reporters after his talks with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa here earlier in the day failed to resolve the decades-old inter-state dispute.
Though the hour-long talks at a star hotel were held in a cordial atmosphere between the chief ministers on the Supreme Court’s Nov 26 suggestion, the serious differences over the sharing of the rain-fed river water led Jayalalithaa to leave the venue abruptly, as Shettar expressed inability to release more water in view of the distress situation in the river-basin. “The present storage in Mettur reservoir is very alarming and prospect of cultivating the samba crop by our farmers in the delta region is very bleak. As the north-east monsoon has failed, the effective storage in the reservoir as on Nov 27 is 6.34 tmcft with a dead storage of 5 tmcft. Having already lost the kurvai crop, our farmers will not be able to save even the single samba crop if water shortage continues,” Jayalalithaa told reporters before leaving for Chennai.
Citing the Cauvery Water Tribunal, she said Karnataka should have shared the distress proportionately by releasing 60 percent of the water from its reservoirs.
“According to the interim order of the tribunal, Tamil Nadu should have received 167.16 tmcft from June to October, but got around 47.3 tmcft with the shortfall being 119.85 tmcft,” she said.
“On pro-rata share of distress, as envisaged by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC), we should have received at least 100.85 tmcft and shortfall to the extent of 53.4 tmcft at Mettur. We need an additional 30 tmcft in the next 15 days to save the samba crop in 14.63 lakh acres of farmland,” Jayalalithaa said.
Putting up the state’s case with voluminous data, Shettar said due to monsoon failure and worst drought in four decades, the four reservoirs (KR Sagar, Kabini, Harangi and Hemavathy) have just enough water to provide 20 tmcft to meet the drinking water requirement of Bangalore, Mysore and towns across the river basin.
“As a long-term solution that can lead to a settlement outside courts and the Cauvery River Authority, the state has suggested three formulas on sharing the river water to Tamil Nadu, which declined to consider,” Shettar said.
With talks failing, Tamil Nadu has decided to apprise the apex court Friday on the outcome of her meeting with Shettar and seek a directive to Karnataka to release its share of water as recommended by the CMC.
Meanwhile, Karnataka’s Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters that Jayalalithaa’s claim that Mettur dam had only 6.3 tmcft of water was unfounded. “According to the data of the Central Water Commission, the Mettur dam has 16.75 tmcft of water, which is enough to meet the requirement of farmers in the delta districts of Tamil Nadu. They (farmers) also have the option to use groundwater,” Bommai said.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.
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