Can’t give more Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, says Karnataka govt
The sharing of the Cauvery water is a sensitive issue in Karnataka, which is coming off successive droughts.Updated: May 08, 2018 15:04 IST
Karnataka on Monday ruled out the release of more Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, saying it had supplied more water than it was supposed to in a fresh affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, whose February 16 order will now likely be implemented only after the Karnataka assembly elections on May 12.
That’s something that suits both the central and the state government. The sharing of the Cauvery water is a sensitive issue in Karnataka, which is coming off successive droughts. In its affidavit filed on Monday, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka claimed it had released 116.697 tmcft of water, instead of 100.04 tmcft by applying the so-called distress formula.
The extra water was given even though Karnataka is facing a water crisis itself, the state added. The court had pulled up the state last week for not complying with its judgment on sharing of Cauvery water.
Tamil Nadu also filed an affidavit on Monday, accusing Karnataka of violating the tribunal order affirmed by SC. The state alleged Karnataka was acting like a “judge of its own cause”. It demanded framing of a scheme of the Cauvery Management Scheme by the Centre.
The affidavits came a day before a crucial hearing when the central government has to inform the court about the steps taken to prepare a draft scheme on water sharing between the riparian states.
As per an earlier order the scheme had to be ready by May 3. But the scheme could not be prepared because the PM and cabinet ministers were busy with polls in Karnataka, SC was told.
In its affidavit Karnataka said 2017-18 has been a “distress water year in the Cauvery basin” for the third time in a row. Despite the fact that TN’s share worked out to be 100.04 tmcft, Karnataka ensured 116.697 tmcft was released at Billigundulu. “Therefore, the excess ensured is 16.66 tmcft,” the affidavit said. “Even in the months of March and April of this “distress year”, the share of Tamil Nadu “has been met by ensuring 1.4 tmcft as against 1.24 tmcft for March and 1.10 tmcft as against 1.22 tmcft for the month of April. Therefore, Karanataka has not committed any default in ensuring water releases, as alleged,” read Karnataka’s affidavit. “There cannot be any substitute to the machinery for the implementation of the final order of the tribunal,” TN said in its affidavit. It blamed the central government for not framing the Cauvery Management Scheme.
Tamil Nadu has already filed a contempt plea against the Centre for not setting up the scheme. It claimed that Karnataka has 19.834 tmcft of water as on May 4 in its four reservoirs. Therefore, it added, Karnataka is in a better position and can easily spare 4 tmcft of water. In its February 16 order the SC marginally increased Karnataka’s share of water and ordered a reduction in the allocation for Tamil Nadu, settling a protracted dispute.
A three-judge bench led by CJI Dipak Misra said Karnataka will be required to release 177.25 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water from its Billigundlu site to Mettur Dam in TN.
The earlier requirement, under a February 2007 award by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT), was 192 tmcft. The court also asked the Centre to frame a scheme for this sharing. TN and some analysts saw this as a nod to the formation of Cauvery water board.
First Published: May 07, 2018 23:07 IST