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Cauvery panel fails to decide quantum of water release due to lack of data

india Updated: Sep 12, 2016 20:31 IST
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Protests have been reported from several parts of Karnataka after the interim SC order on September 5 asked the state to release 15,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu per day for 10 days. (PTI)

The Cauvery Supervisory Committee on Monday failed to decide on quantum of water to be released to Tamil Nadu and other states. It will meet again on September 19.

Union water resources secretary Shashi Shekhar, who chaired the meeting, said the Committee need more information to decide the amount of water to be released from Cauvery.

He said the states involved did not present the panel with adequate information on - withdrawal of water, its utilisation, allegations of withdrawal when it was not permitted, variation in rainfall and its impact on the actual run-off - over a period spanning 29 years.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had asked Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs Cauvery water per day, down from previous 15,000 cusecs, to Tamil Nadu till September 20.

“...since the time given by the honourable (Supreme) Court was so limited...they could not bring all information. The Committee did not want to pass any order which is not backed by data.

“So, the Committee has fixed another date, that is on September 19, because the Supreme Court has today given a date for next hearing on September 20,” Shekhar told reporters after the meeting.

He added that the Committee has asked the states involved to give information sought by September 15.

He further said Chief Secretaries of both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka did not agree over figures relating to release of water during the meeting.

“As we were discussing and trying to reach a figure which would be acceptable to both the states, which were also based on scientific facts, we found that the Supreme Court had given another interim order today. So, we will meet again,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Committee, has decided to set up a network for data collection which will send real-time online data to the four states involved- Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Puducherry and Kerala.

“We have decided today as to what should be the protocol, methodology of the data collection. How can we make it completely online so that the data can seamlessly move to all the four states on real-time basis and there is no dispute on data collection,” he said.

Noting the Cauvery tribunal has not discussed the water distribution for distress situation until now, Shekhar said the Committee should “hold discussion on it sometime”.

“All the four states will need to discuss what should be the distress situation. If we arrive at a consensus on that, we will make that a basis for discussion when there is less rainfall and how we can achieve proportionate share then. This (distress) situation is arising regularly,” he said.

P Rama Mohana Rao, Arvind Jadhav, and Manoj Parida, Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Puducherry respectively attended the meeting along with senior officials from Kerala, Central Water Commission and Union Water Resources Ministry.

During the meeting, the Committee’s sixth over the issue, the Tamil Nadu officials are learnt to have pitched for quantum of water released to be in line with Cauvery water tribunal’s order and also expressed concern over the “unauthorised” withdrawal of water.

“...but the rainfall data provided by the meteorology department don’t entirely support their (Tamil Nadu’s) claim. It will also have to substantiate its allegations with data,” Shekhar said.

Karnataka is learnt to have raised the issue of depleting levels of its reservoirs due to the release of water and asked the Centre to send a team to assess “ground realities”.

“Karnataka did mention about experts’ committee, but as Chairman of the Committee, I will have to go by entirely what the Supreme Court has ordered. The Supreme Court has asked the Committee to follow the language of tribunal order,” he added.

The setting up of network to collect data, protocol for which will be drawn by the Central Water Commission, will also help in ensuring no state makes unauthorised withdrawal of water, Shekhar said.

“The network will help establish the inflow. The order of the tribunal is based on inflow,” he said.

The meeting took place after the apex court on September 5 asked Tamil Nadu to approach the committee over the issue.

Protests have been reported from several parts of Karnataka after the interim SC order on September 5 asked the state to release 15,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu per day for 10 days.