Sadananda Gowda terms Tamil Nadu's application before the Supreme Court illegal

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Monday termed the Tamil Nadu application before the Supreme Court demanding a direction to the Karnataka government not to deplete water from the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin as “illegal and aimed at creating hardship to the people in the State”. He urged the Union Government to intervene to stop such actions of the neighbouring State.

Making a statement on the issue in the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Sadananda Gowda urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to announce a river water policy after consultations with the States. He also urged him not to succumb to pressure from Tamil Nadu. Its application in the court had created tension in Karnataka, especially among farmers who are facing drought conditions.

He appealed to the people not to worry and assured them that the entire State would fight unitedly against applications such as these in the court. He said there was no need for passing a resolution in the House.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, Congress Deputy Leader T.B. Jayachandra, Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Revanna, D.K. Shivakumar, V. Srinivasa Prasad, H.C. Mahadevappa and P.M. Narendra Swamy, all from the Cauvery basin, echoed Mr. Gowda's sentiments. The Chief Minister appealed to the people not to take law into their own hands, as his Government was committed to protecting their interests.

Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, in his statement said that the Centre had not yet gazetted the final award and even the Cauvery River Authority had not responded to the State's request for resolving the issue.

Both Mr. Gowda and Mr. Bommai said that the tribunal also clarified that Karnataka could release water on pro rata basis during drought. They also said that the tribunal restricted Karnataka to irrigate 11.2 lakh acres in the interim order and extended it to 18.85 lakh acres for crop water requirement in the final order, as against its plans to irrigate 26 lakh acres.

Mr. Bommai and the Opposition leaders said Tamil Nadu seemed to think that the four reservoirs were storage points for supplying water to it.

Mr. Bommai said that Karnataka ensured 192 tmcft of water at Biligundlu Water Gauging Centre as per the tribunal's final award dated February 5, 2007. The State, he said, had the right to utilise the remaining water and there was no restriction on extending irrigation nor any time stipulated for it.

He said that Karnataka released 353.64 tmcft, 209.42 tmcft, 219.49 tmcft, 209.77 tmcft and 226.27 tmcft to Tamil Nadu from 2007-08 to 2011-12 (as of March 21, 2012), which proved that the water was more than 192 tmcft.