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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

SC directs Karnataka to file report on water sharing with TN

PTI  New Delhi, January 28, 2013
First Published: 23:00 IST(28/1/2013) | Last Updated: 23:03 IST(28/1/2013)

The Supreme Court on Monday directed Karnataka to furnish all the information on amount of Cauvery river water shared by it to Tamil Nadu since 1992 and said that out of box thinking is required on the part of warring states to sort out the dispute.

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A bench of justices RM Lodha and J Chelameswar asked Karnataka to submit its report on Tuesday when it will hear the plea on passing interim direction on sharing of water by the two states.

The bench also observed that requirement of drinking water for Karnataka should be given priority over water needed by Tamil Nadu for irrigation purpose and some out of box thinking is required to balance the demand of two states.

"Some equitable sharing has to be done. Some out of box thinking is required. There has to be some interim solution," the bench said while pulling Karnataka for not adhering to the formula of water sharing.

Earlier on December 5, the Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily to its neighbouring state and asked Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) to hold a meeting to decide the amount of water required by each state.

Cusec is a measure of flow rate of water and is abbreviation for cubic feet per second (which is equivalent to a flow of 28.317 litres per second) and 11,000 cusecs flow for a day amounts to 1 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water.

The committee had then directed Karnataka to provide Tamil Nadu with 12 TMC of Cauvery water during December and did not pass any order for the month of January as the Centre had assured the apex court that it would notify the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal award by December 31.

During the earlier hearing on November 26, the court had asked the chief ministers of the two states to meet and arrive at an amicable solution to the "sensitive" dispute.

The talks between the chief ministers, however, failed to break the deadlock on the water sharing row and the matter again reached the apex court.

Once a gazette notification is issued, the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) chaired by the prime minister and the CMC will cease to exist.

The tribunal, comprising chairman Justice NP Singh and members NS Rao and Sudhir Narain, in a unanimous award in February 2007 had determined the total availability of water in the Cauvery basin at 740 TMC feet at the Lower Coleroon Anicut site.

The proceedings of the tribunal, set up in June 1990, went on for more than 16 years.

In what was then described as a balancing act, the tribunal gave Tamil Nadu 419 tmc of water (as against the demand of 562 tmc); Karnataka 270 tmc (as against its demand of 465 tmc); Kerala 30 tmc and Puducherry 7 tmc. For environmental protection, it had reserved 10 tmc.

The Tribunal's award will come into effect within 90 days of its notification by the Centre. As per law, the award comes into being after being notified by the Centre through its publication in a gazette.

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