Karnataka hasn’t suffered any decline in irrigated area, it says

Tamil Nadu on Saturday filed a brief note in the Supreme Court, pleading for a direction to Karnataka to release 30 tmcft of water to save the samba crop. It said it had lost the ‘kuruvai’ crop due to the “recalcitrant” attitude of the Karnataka government in not releasing the required quantities of water.

Tamil Nadu filed the brief note with supporting documents as per a direction by the court on Friday.

Karnataka also filed supporting documents.

Tamil Nadu said:

“Notwithstanding the deficit rainfall, Karnataka has not suffered any distress. Karnataka has sown 12.75 lakh acres. It has already drawn more than 102 tmcft of water (up to 30th November) as against about 102 tmcft, which is the average drawal in the 4 major reservoirs up to the end of November.

“Thus, it has not suffered any reduction either in the irrigated area, or in the quantity of water. Karnataka cannot claim and seek to retain any water for the rabi crop when Tamil Nadu could not have even one crop. Moreover, right from July/August, their claim is only for the standing crops viz. kharif.

“Karnataka’s contention that the ‘season’ ends only on December 31/t January 31 and it is only thereafter that the distress should be determined clearly means that Tamil Nadu will lose the standing crops and in the mean time Karnataka can conveniently deplete the water to the detriment of the lower riparian States. This is only a device to deprive the rights of Tamil Nadu.”

Tamil Nadu said the rainy season and the agricultural season were so well known. It was rather strange for the CMC to suggest that there was any doubt or ambiguity that required clarification, and which the CMC was purportedly unable to decide. It was apparently an excuse for the CMC in not taking a decision regarding release of water to Tamil Nadu in respect of the shortfall during the southwest monsoon as per the orders of the Supreme Court.

“The magnitude of the human problem is unimaginable and so devastating that some farmers have already started committing suicide. If the approach adopted by the CMC is not interfered with, Tamil Nadu will have no water to protect its standing crops. This would mean not only suffering and huge financial loss to the farmers of Tamil Nadu, but a national loss, since the food security requirements of the country in respect of rice production will be jeopardised.”

It said:

“Karnataka’s claim to retain waters in the reservoirs and refusal to let down to Tamil Nadu, when they have already overdrawn in deficit year means effectively according to Karnataka, the distress is to be borne only by Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, while Karnataka will use all available waters for raising the crop as if it is a normal year for the same area or more using the same extent of water or more.

“This is merely a reassertion of Harmon theory or assertion of its ownership of the waters, which has been adversely commented by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1993.

“The water requirements claimed by Karnataka for the standing crop as 78 TMC ft., is highly inflated. The kharif crop period is already over and hence there cannot be any water requirement for that crop. Unless it has gone for the second Rabi crop, there cannot be any crop water demand.

“While Tamil Nadu is suffering to salvage even a single “Samba crop, the claim made by Karnataka either for the second Rabi crop or for the crops in new areas is wholly unjustified.

“Further, the claim of 23 tmcft made by Karnataka for drinking water supply, including the requirement of Bangalore City from December to May, is highly exaggerated and not realistic as the actual requirement is only 4.4 tmcft. Hence Tamil Nadu prayed for a direction to Karnataka to release 30 tmcft of water to save the standing samba crop.”