‘Summer crop in Karnataka wholly unauthorised and not approved by Tribunal’

Tamil Nadu on Friday described as reprehensible and inhuman Karnataka’s stand that it will enjoy all water in the Cauvery basin during distress and use all surplus water even for summer irrigation in a surplus year, to the detriment and agony of the lower riparian State.

In a rejoinder to Karnataka’s reply in the Supreme Court, Tamil Nadu said: “The surplus waters in a good year have to be stored for utilisation to take care of a distress year. The summer crop in Karnataka is completely unauthorised and not approved by the Tribunal.”

Tamil Nadu said adistress-sharing formula had been eluding for over 10 years due to the “obstructionist” attitude of Karnataka. Further, it was also taking an untenable stand that no permanent formula could be evolved for sharing the distress and that it should be done for each year based on the ground realities both in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Several correspondences were exchanged for finalising a distress-sharing formula, but the same was not finalised due to Karnataka’s attitude.

Tamil Nadu, therefore, wanted the court to direct the Cauvery River Authority, headed by the Prime Minister, to comply with the order dated September 3, 2002 passed by this court and finalise the distress-sharing formula so that the waters of the inter-State river Cauvery could be shared in accordance with the said formula in the current year, where Tamil Nadu was subjected to grave injustice by the non-release of water.

Expressing shock at Karnataka’s reply, Tamil Nadu said: “The entire tenor of the counter affidavit filed by Karnataka seems to be to contend that Tamil Nadu is not entitled to any share of waters and that it is under no obligation to release water which is wholly unjustified and contrary to the principles of equitable apportionment.”

It said that rainfall during the South West Monsoon as on date this year in Karnataka was less than normal was indisputable but that would not give the upper riparian State the right to all the waters flowing into its reservoirs and to release waters for their irrigation while depriving Tamil Nadu and Puducherry their legitimate share, as proportionately reduced.

“The contention of Karnataka that it will be only at the end of December there can be a computation of the flows for determining excess or shortfall even in a distress year is completely opposed to both the interim and final award passed by the Tribunal.”

Tamil Nadu said, “Karnataka is admitting that during the situation of distress, the basin States are expected to share the water equitably, yet it is contending that no water should be released to Tamil Nadu till December, which is against the law of equitable apportionment of the waters of the inter State river Cauvery.”

The available water in the river system had to be shared amongst the riparian States and the denial of Karnataka to the direction for release of water was wholly unjustified, Tamil Nadu said and prayed for a direction to Karnataka for release of water.

Such a direction was absolutely necessary so as to enable to at least commence samba crop by opening the Mettur Reservoir for irrigation, failing which, it would seriously jeopardise the agricultural operations in the State, it said.

The case comes up for further hearing on September 3.