“It is denying rights people of Tamil Nadu enjoyed for centuries”

Tamil Nadu on Tuesday charged Karnataka with irrigating 11.685 lakh acres as against 8.47 lakh acres permitted by the Cauvery Tribunal and depleting the water in the four reservoirs of the State.

Making a submission before a Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justices D.K. Jain and Madan B. Lokur, senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, said that in 2012-13, the State had received only 23.9 per cent inflow at Billigundlu, which worked out to 73.49 tmcft out of total availability of 307.81 tmcft. The remaining 234.32 tmcft (76.1 per cent) was fully utilised by Karnataka.

Even during 2002-2003, another comparable deficit year, the Tamil Nadu received 39.2 per cent of its share, but this year the attitude of Karnataka seemed to be that whatever water available there belonged to that State and “we will not share it.”

He said notwithstanding the deficit rainfall, Karnataka had not suffered distress and had sown crops on 11.685 lakh acres.

“It has already drawn more than 102 tmcft. (up to November 30) as against about 102 tmcft., which is the average drawal in the four 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.”

Mr. Vaidyanathan said that while the Tribunal had permitted irrigation only on 8.47 lakh acres, the Centre allowed irrigation on over nine lakh acres and it seemed whatever Karnataka had submitted to them had been accepted.

He argued that while Tamil Nadu was suffering to salvage the samba crop, the claim made by Karnataka either for the second rabi crop or for the crops in new areas was unjustified. Further, the claim of 23 tmcft made by Karnataka for drinking water supply, including the requirement of Bangalore City from December to May, was highly exaggerated and unrealistic as the actual requirement was only 4.4 tmcft.

Senior counsel Anil Divan, appearing for Karnataka, said once the Cauvery River Authority headed by the Prime Minister had passed an order after considering all aspects, including deficit, the present application was not maintainable.

The court should not be carried away by emotional appeal or sympathy since farmers of both the States were involved, and pass ad hoc orders.