Karnataka utilising stored water in "unjust fashion"

Karnataka is utilising the Cauvery water stored in its reservoirs in an “unjust fashion” between February and May for summer irrigation, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in the Assembly on Friday.

Responding to a call attention motion on the opinions expressed by various leaders in the Karnataka Assembly recently that “not a drop of water should be given to Tamil Nadu” from the Cauvery, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that as per the final award of the Cauvery Tribunal, Karnataka should not use the water for summer irrigation. However, from 2007 to 2011, Karnataka utilised water to the extent of 42 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) to 73 tmcft from its four major reservoirs. “This water should not have been used, but stored for irrigation for the next crop,” she contended.

Karnataka does not release water for kuruvai crop of Tamil Nadu during June and July as stipulated by the Tribunal, she regretted. On the other hand, it starts storing water in all its reservoirs as soon as the monsoon sets in since the reservoirs have already been depleted for summer irrigation. “That was why the Tamil Nadu government had to move an interim petition before the Supreme Court that Karnataka should not be permitted to utilise the water from its four reservoirs between February and May,” she explained.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said Tamil Nadu was determined to get its share of water from the Cauvery. There would have been a quietus to the issue had the Central government gazetted the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal delivered on February 5, 2007.

But, as it had not been done, all the four States involved in the dispute filed clarification petitions on the Award, and Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala had filed appeals before the Supreme Court as well.

The Chief Minister said she had taken up the issue of gazetting the final award with the Prime Minister time and again but in vain. “The Tamil Nadu government continues to press the Central government in this regard.”

Tamil Nadu's stand was that the interim award of the Tribunal would continue to be in force until the final award was gazetted and the chairman of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee had also confirmed it on October 16, 2008. Similarly, the “irrigation year” as per the interim order, was June to January. The final award also subscribed to that.

However, Ms. Jayalalithaa said, Karnataka was of the opinion that the interim order had lapsed following the pronouncement of the final award. But, it did not release water for Tamil Nadu either as per the interim order or the final award. Only after storing water in all its reservoirs was it letting out the surplus to Tamil Nadu,” she lamented.

All those who gave notices for the motion, including Panruti S.Ramachandran, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Ko.Vi.Sezhiyan (DMK), C. Balakrishnan (CPI-M), M.Balamurugan (CPI), K. Krishnasamy (Puthiya Thamizhagam), M.H. Jawahirullah (Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi), and Thaniarasu (Kongu Ilaignar Peravai), while condemning the views of Karnataka leaders, expressed their solidarity with the government in obtaining the State's just share of Cauvery water for irrigation.

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