The release will meet shortfall suffered by the State during this year’s southwest monsoon (June-September)

Tamil Nadu on Thursday presented a forceful case to the visiting Central team that it should immediately be provided at least 48 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of Cauvery water by Karnataka under a distress sharing formula evolved by the Central Water Commission (CWC).

The release will meet the shortfall suffered by the State during this year’s southwest monsoon (June-September), say sources.

This point was made at a meeting at the Secretariat between the officials of the Central government, led by Union Water Resources Secretary Dhruv Vijai Singh, and a group of State government officials, including Chief Secretary Debendranath Sarangi and Public Works Secretary M. Saikumar.

Another point raised by the Tamil Nadu team was that Karnataka should release water hereafter as per the interim order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. If this were to be fulfilled, Karnataka has to release 68 tmc ft more.

Of the total quantity of 205 tmc ft prescribed by the Tribunal for a water year (June-May), the period of southwest monsoon (June-September) accounts for 137 tmc ft; northeast monsoon (October-December) – 56.59 tmc ft; winter (January-February) – 4.68 tmc ft and summer (March-May) – 6.73 tmc ft.

The demand of Tamil Nadu for not sticking to the distress sharing formula in the coming months is based on the premise that this year’s northeast monsoon is expected to be normal.

The State also briefed the Centre regarding requirements of farmers in the Cauvery delta. Even as per a conservative estimate, the quantity of water required would be around 150 tmc ft.

Mr. Singh, who later left for Bangalore, told reporters that though he would not be visiting the delta, some of his colleagues would go there. A report would be ready in four days. The sources said the sub-group of the Centre would begin its trip with a visit to the Mettur dam on Friday. A chief engineer of the CWC is part of the team.

On Thursday morning, the water level at Mettur stood at 71.47 ft (full level: 120 ft) with a storage of 34.33 tmc ft (capacity: 93.47 tmc ft). The inflow was 10,019 cubic feet per second (cusecs) and the discharge 14,706 cusecs.

The Cauvery Monitoring Committee, headed by Mr Singh, would hold its meeting on October 11 instead of the originally scheduled date of October 8, the sources added. The Committee, consisting of Chief Secretaries and Chief Engineers of the basin States and CWC Chairman as members, is meant to assist the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) in decision making.

Bid to block trains

Tiruchi Bureau writes:

Hundreds of members of political parties and farmers’ organisations were taken into custody on Thursday when they attempted to block trains at various railway stations in delta districts demanding release of two tmcft of water in Cauvery daily by Karnataka. The protest was held under the banner of ‘Cauvery Urimai Meetpu Kuzhu’ (Cauvery Rights Retrieval Committee)

The agitators demanded gazetting of the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal’s final award. According to the farmers, Karnataka must be compelled to release water under a distress sharing formula for the period up to September 15.

The committee was formed by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Nam Thamizhar Katchi, Thamizh Desa Poduvudamaikatchi, Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam and Puthiya Thamizhagam, among others.

A total of 513 persons, including six women were arrested in Thanjavur district when they tried to stop trains at 18 centres.

At Ayanavaram near Thanjavur, nearly 120 persons including women tried to stop the Mayiladuthurai-Tiruchi passenger in the morning. They were taken into custody. At Budalur railway station, members of these parties tried to stop the same train and arrested by the police.

Rail roko was held at Thanjavur, Kumbakonam and 14 other centres in the district.

Tiruvarur

A total of 398 people were arrested by the police when they tried to stop trains at various places in the district. The members tried to stop the trains at Tiruvarur, Thiruthuraipoondi and Needamangalam railway stations too and were arrested.

Nagapattinam

At Nagapattinam, cadres of MDMK and Naam Tamizhar Iyyakkam staged blockades in front of the Tiruchi-Karaikal passenger and Nagapattinam-Velankanni passenger.

Ernakulam-Karaikal express faced the brunt after a prolonged delay caused by blockade in Thanjavur followed by its blockade yet again here at the Nagapattinam station. Similarly, farmers blocked trains in Sirkazhi and Mayiladuthurai stations.

In Mayiladuturai, the protesters called for conferring larger powers on the CRA, and demanded that linguistic jingoism be marginalised from the discourse. According to Arupathy Kalyanam, all political outfits in Karnataka had called for a bandh on October 6, vitiating the atmosphere.

Tiruchi

More than 100 members of various political parties and farmers associations were taken into custody at Srirangam railway station when they tried to block the Chennai — Guruvayur express. They were led by A. Malarmannan, Tiruchi urban district secretary of the MDMK.

Aarupathi P. Kalyanam, general secretary of the Federation of the Farmers Associations of the Delta Districts, lamented that Karnataka had been violating constitutional propriety by refusing to release water to Tamil Nadu despite the directions of the Cauvery River Authority and also the Supreme Court. “It is behaving as if it is an independent nation forgetting that we are in a federal set-up in which international conventions should be applied in case of riparian rights.”

Mr. Kalyanam said that it had become the “monotonous practice” of Karnataka to treat Tamil Nadu only as “drainage”.

“It is unfortunate it is not ready for any distress sharing”, he said. He has urged the Central Government to deploy the Army to release water to Tamil Nadu.