Manmohan Singh
Manmohan SinghReuters/B Mathur

Amid the ongoing protests in Karnataka over the sharing of Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu, External Affair Minister SM Krishna has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking him to immediately stop further release of water to the neighbouring state.

Krishna, who is currently touring in the US, warned the Prime Minister that the situation in the state would worsen if the release of water to Tamil Nadu is not stopped.

"The entire state is waiting with bated breath to get immediate relief as otherwise it will spell disaster for the population in the Cauvery basin," read Krishna's letter to the PM.

He also asked the Prime Minister "to explore possibilities of stopping further release of water from dams in Karnataka and also call for an interim report of the team of experts."

Meanwhile, the Cauvery Monitoring Committee will meet on Oct 11 in New Delhi to discuss the issue and make a decision on the further release of water to Tamil Nadu after Oct 15. A Central study team is also set on to visit the two southern states to take stock of the situation. The team will look into all the concerns raised by the states, including the current level of water in reservoirs, condition of standing crops etc.

The final report of the Central study team on Cauvery will come in handy for the prime minister-headed Cauvery River Authority (CRA) to take a final call on the water dispute.

CRA directed the Karnataka government to release about 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu on daily basis between Sept 20 and Oct 15. The state government initially resisted opening up the dams for Tamil Nadu, but eventually released water following a directive from the Supreme Court.

The release of Cauvery water pushed the state of Karnataka into chaos, with farmers, activist groups and film bodies taking to the streets in protest against the sharing of water.

Protestors contended that Karnataka farmers are already facing difficulties in growing standing-crops due to the short fall in Monsoon rains, and the sharing of Cauvery water will further add to their woes.

On Saturday, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) called for a state-wide Bandh, supported by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), besides other religious, pro-Kannada organisations and film bodies.