Cauvery panel says directive is in line with Tribunal’s award

The Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC), at a meeting on Thursday, ordered Karnataka to release a further 8.85 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from October 16 to 31.

According to sources present at the meeting, the CMC said this quantum could come from reservoirs or the immediate catchments below the reservoirs and above Biligundlu (Karnataka’s border with Tamil Nadu).

The CMC considered a report of the Central team that visited both States to assess the condition of crops and water availability.

“This [the order] is as per the interim award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, based on the formula of pro rata distress-sharing,” CMC Chairman and Water Resources Secretary D.V. Singh told reporters after the meeting. He later visited the Prime Minister’s Office.

Karnataka reiterated its stand that it was not in a position to release any more water.

Besides Karnataka Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and his Tamil Nadu counterpart D. Sarangi, senior engineers from Kerala and Puducherry were present at the meeting.

The CMC noted that flows into the Cauvery basin reservoirs was 41 per cent less than normal, and both States were in distress. As per the interim award, the distress needed to be shared on a pro rata basis. The CMC would meet next on October 29 to determine the flows to Tamil Nadu from November 1 to 15.

At a meeting earlier this week with the Prime Minister, Karnataka leaders demanded a review of the September 19 order of the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs daily till October 15. He turned down the request, saying that only the CRA could take a decision, and the CMC was meeting to take a view.

Asked whether Karnataka protested the decision, he said: “The Centre is going by the interim award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. It is not favouring any State. The committee acted to enforce the… award in the interests of both States.”

Members of the Central team presented their report at the meeting. “They gave the factual position. There is requirement of water in both States. Tamil Nadu has sown new crop, while Karnataka has standing crop. The team gave its report about the water required… Unfortunately that much water is not available for both States, and they have to share the burden,” he said.

Asked whether Tamil Nadu wanted the deficit made good, he said that was not the mandate of the CMC as the State had not approached the Centre with that plea. “They have gone to the Supreme Court…”

As per the interim award, Tamil Nadu should receive in a normal year 15 tmcft between October 16 and 31. But this is not a normal year.