Seventeen years after it was set up, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal on Monday gave its final verdict in the row over sharing river water.
Headed by Justice NP Singh, the tribunal allocated 419 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water to Tamil Nadu, 270 tmc ft to Karnataka, 30 tmc ft to Kerala and 7 tmc ft to Puducherry — out of the 740 tmc ft of usable water available in a normal year.
While Tamil Nadu welcomed the ruling, Karnataka said it would file a review petition before the tribunal seeking a review of the verdict.
Karnataka's coalition government said the order was "shocking". "We are committed to filing a review petition against the order," BS Yediyurappa, the deputy chief minister, told the legislative assembly. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he would react only after reading the order and consulting leaders of all political parties.
Protesting against the order, farmers set up road blocks and detained a couple of trains in the basin districts of Mandya, Mysore, Hassan and Chamarajangar.
In Delhi, Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi welcomed the ruling. "We hope Karnataka will implement it," he said. In Alappuzha, Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan said the order was a real letdown. "The government will do everything to protect the interest of the state," he said.
The tribunal — which also reserved 10 tmc ft of water for environmental protection and 4 tmc ft for “inevitable escapages” into the sea — said its final order would supercede the agreements of 1892 and 1924 between the then governments of Madras and Mysore.
(With HTC inputs from Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram)