India

Indian farmers protest against Cauvery river sharing

The Kabini Dam on the Cauvery river is about 165km south-west of Bangalore.
Image caption The Cauvery water sharing dispute between Karnatka and Tamil Nadu is a century old

Hundreds of Indian farmers in Karnataka state are protesting against a court order for the release of water from a disputed river to Tamil Nadu state.

Train and bus services between the state capital Bangalore and the city of Mysore have been partially disrupted by the protesting farmers.

Tension is high between the two states over the ongoing long dispute over sharing water from the Cauvery river.

Both states say they need the water for millions of farmers in the region.

"There is a drought like situation and there is no water for our farmers. How can water be released to Tamil Nadu?" said KS Puttanaiah, leader of the Karnataka State Farmers Association.

Karnataka was forced to release water after the Supreme Court censured it last week for not complying with a direction of the Cauvery river authority, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to release 9,000 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water to Tamil Nadu daily until October 15.

"It is unavoidable. We have to follow the Supreme Court orders," said Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar, after coming under attack from the opposition and farmers groups for releasing the water.

Mr Shettar said Karnataka will appeal against the order in the Supreme Court.

The Cauvery originates in Karnataka and flows into Tamil Nadu and the dispute over sharing of waters originates in the 19th century during the British rule.

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