BENGALURU , India, Sept. 12 (UPI) — Clashes between the Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu prompted the country’s Supreme Court on Monday to revise an earlier order on water sharing between the two regions.
At issue is water from the Cauvery River, which passes through both states and is used largely to irrigate crops. Each state demands the release of more water from the two dams on the Cauvery River in Karnataka; Tamil Nadu representatives say water is needed to save its rice crop, while Karnataka says its four reservoirs stand half empty because of a weak monsoon season.
India’s Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 5 that upstream Karnataka must provide downstream Tamil Nadu with water from its dams, 15,000 cubic feet per second per day until Sept. 20, a decision which prompted a refusal by the Karnataka government and violence. Monday the court revised its figures, calling for 12,000 cubic feet per second per day until September 20.
The clash over water led to vehicles with Tamil Nadu license plates being set on fire in Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka, and reports of similar reprisal incidents in Tamil Nadu. Bengaluru police dispersed mobs intent on damaging private property, and public transportation in the city was suspended to reduce the threat of violence. Tension between the states is rising, and Monday 35 buses burned at a Bengaluru bus depot, and 200 protesters were detained.
Arguments over distribution of Cauvery River water date to the 19th century; an agreement signed in 1924 lapsed in 1974, and all court-ordered settlements since have failed.