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Over 40,000 Shops in Tamil Nadu Shut Down in Protest Against Karnataka in Cauvery Water Dispute

Amid the ongoing dispute over the allocation of Cauvery river water in Karnataka, numerous trade unions in Tamil Nadu, its neighboring state, have called for a shutdown in the delta districts. They demand the central government's intervention to ensure that Karnataka releases sufficient water from the Cauvery river to protect the Kuruvai paddy crop and initiate Samba cultivation.

By Rekha Joshi 
Updated Date

In response to the ongoing dispute over the sharing of Cauvery water in Karnataka, various trade unions in Tamil Nadu have orchestrated a shutdown in the delta districts. The protest, organized by the Cauvery Delta Protection Movement and farmers’ unions, spans eight districts, including Trichy, Tanjore, Nagapattinam, and Tiruvarur. The shutdown, which began on Wednesday, aims to urge the Centre to intervene, ensuring Karnataka releases sufficient water from the Cauvery to safeguard Kuruvai paddy cultivation and initiate Samba cultivation.

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Approximately 40,000 commercial establishments and shops in Thanjavur district have closed their shutters, while 12,000 shops in Nagapattinam have also ceased operations in protest of the Cauvery water dispute. Only essential shops catering to daily needs remain open in these districts.

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The Tamil Nadu legislative assembly recently passed a unanimous resolution, urging the central government to instruct Karnataka to release Cauvery river water in accordance with the orders of the Cauvery Water Management Authority. Chief Minister M K Stalin accused Karnataka of creating an “artificial crisis” by not releasing water from the river, disrupting Kuruvai crop farming, despite the Supreme Court’s directives.

The Cauvery Water Regulation Committee had directed Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of Cauvery water at Biligundlu between September 28 and October 15. Karnataka, citing severe drought in parts of the state, had previously declined to comply with the Cauvery board’s orders to share water with Tamil Nadu.

Last week, Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar stated that cumulative inflows into the reservoirs in the state’s Cauvery basin were decreasing. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government accused Karnataka of providing false information about water supply.

In response, the Karnataka government has filed a petition before the Supreme Court, seeking a direction for the Cauvery Water Management Authority to review its decisions on water release to Tamil Nadu.

The longstanding conflict between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over Cauvery water distribution remains a contentious issue, as the river is crucial for the sustenance of people in both states. The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was established by the Centre on June 2, 1990, to adjudicate disputes concerning water-sharing capacities among Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Puducherry.

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