Bengaluru (PTI): Amid continued protests in the state over the Cauvery dispute with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the Karnataka government on Friday said it will take all necessary steps to protect the interest of the people of the state and its farmers, by ensuring water for both crops and drinking water.

The government which has been pitching Mekedatu balancing reservoir project as the solution to settle Cauvery river water dispute between both states, also indicated it will initiate process towards realising the project.

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with orders of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) directing Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu, following which protests erupted in different parts of the state.

Karnataka has been maintaining that it is not in a position to release water, taking into account its own requirement for drinking water and irrigation for standing crops in the Cauvery basin areas, as there has been water scarcity due to deficit monsoon rains.

"We have protected the interest of the farmers and people of the state and will continue to do so. Let those who want to do politics on the issue continue to do so," Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said.

Speaking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, he said, "Already 3,000-3,500 cusecs water is flowing to Tamil Nadu as it is, and along with this we will also try to protect the interest of the farmers and drinking water requirements, this is our firm commitment." Shivakumar, aslo the state's Water Resources Minister, however did not specify whether the state government will comply with the CWMA's order or not.

When asked as to whether Karnataka was open to talks with Tamil Nadu on the issue, he said, "not now..let's see after the 15 days period completes. We have requested the centre to intervene and hold talks between both states.".

CWMA on Monday asked Karnataka to continue releasing 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for another 15 days, after the CWRC made such a recommendation last week.

Stating that the Advocate General and legal team briefed the cabinet on the Cauvery issue and court proceedings, Shivakumar said the Supreme Court has rejected applications of both states. As of now 3,000 to 3,500 cusecs water was flowing to Tamil Nadu, and inflow is around 8,000 cuecs.

Noting that Mekedatu balancing reservoir project matter came up during the proceedings in the Supreme Court, he said Tamil Nadu had in the past orally said it should not be taken up, while the previous Karnataka government had filed an affidavit regarding the project.

Despite Rs 1,000 crore set aside for the project, work could not be taken up, he said.

The court asked why Tamil Nadu was objecting to the Mekedatu project when Karnataka is building it in its territory and was ready to give TN its share of 177 tmc ft water.

"However, Tami Nadu has raised objections to it....but Karnataka will take steps to go ahead with the project by initiating necessary processes before the CWMA and work towards clearances from the central government," he said, adding the Court seems to have realised that Mekedatu project is beneficial to both states.

Meanwhile, farmers organisations have called for Mandya bandh on Saturday on the Cauvery issue and urged the government not to release water to TN.

Shivakumar has urged farmers groups to call off the agitation and not to cause inconvenience to people.

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New Delhi, Dec 11: India has described as "fake" and "completely fabricated" a media report claiming that a "secret memo" was issued by New Delhi in April to take "concrete" measures against certain Sikh separatists, including Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Sunday that the report is part of a "sustained disinformation campaign" against India and the outlet that published it is known for propagating "fake narratives" peddled by Pakistani intelligence.

The report was published by online American media outlet "The Intercept".

"We strongly assert that such reports are fake and completely fabricated. There is no such memo," Bagchi said.

"This is part of a sustained disinformation campaign against India. The outlet in question is known for propagating fake narratives peddled by Pakistani intelligence. The posts of the authors confirm this linkage," he added.

"Those who amplify such fake news do so only at the cost of their own credibility," Bagchi said, responding to media queries on the report.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau levelled the allegation of "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Nijjar on Canadian soil on June 18.

India strongly dismissed the charges, terming them "absurd".

"The Intercept", in its report, claimed that the Indian government issued instructions on a "crackdown scheme" against certain Sikh entities in western countries.

It further claimed that the secret memorandum issued by the MEA in April lists several "Sikh dissidents under investigation by India's intelligence agencies, including the Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar".