In a move that is likely to deepen the legal battle over the Cauvery dispute, the Tamil Nadu government will file an original suit claiming damages from Karnataka in view of the “intransigent attitude” of the government of the neighbouring State.
Announcing this on Monday, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a press release, stated that it was on her instruction that a petition would be filed, citing the Karnataka government’s refusal to release Tamil Nadu’s quota of water as per orders of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the Cauvery Monitoring Committee recording this.
Pointing out that she had come out with a package of measures for the welfare of Cauvery delta farmers, the Chief Minister said a high-level committee, headed by the Finance Minister [O. Panneerselvam], which had visited the delta, would submit its report to the government that would, in turn, take appropriate steps on the basis of the report.
Giving an exhaustive account of her government’s efforts to secure the State’s share of Cauvery water through judiciary and negotiations, Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled that it was on her persistence and the Supreme Court’s intervention that Karnataka was compelled to give water to Tamil Nadu.
On the advice of the court for bilateral talks, she went to Bangalore on November 29 and held talks with her Karnataka counterpart. She had pressed for the immediate release of 30 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) in 15 days and 53.4 tmc ft throughout December. But, Karnataka was not willing to give even a drop of water.
As a sequel to a petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government, the court, on December 5, directed the Cauvery Monitoring Committee to meet immediately and assess the requirements of the two States in that meeting. The committee did not accept the plea of Tamil Nadu for 36 tmc ft, but asked Karnataka to ensure that 12 tmc ft was given in December.
Another petition was filed on December 20, seeking at least 18 tmc ft. Hearing this petition on January 4, the court ordered that the committee hold its meeting to decide matters, including the shortfall to be released to Tamil Nadu and the crop requirements of the two States.
In its meeting on January 10, the committee went on record that as per a distress-sharing formula, going by the measurements at Billigundlu, there was a shortfall of 31.4 tmc ft in the quantum of water released by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu during June 1 to December 31, 2012 and Karnataka did not regulate the release of water as per the Tribunal’s interim award.
Yet another petition was filed on January 17, demanding 12 tmc ft immediately and the next day,
Tamil Nadu pressed in the court that the matter be heard urgently. The court would hear the matter on January 28.