It is essential to be able to sustain Samba crop, Supreme Court told

With Karnataka refusing to release water as per the directions of the Cauvery River Authority headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court for a direction to Karnataka to release 2 tmcft of water daily for 24 days till the onset of the northeast monsoon.

Tamil Nadu pointed out the failure of Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs as per the Prime Minister’s direction and said that it was constrained to file the application. It said that a direction to release 48 tmcft of water at the rate of 2 tmcft per day on the basis of the pro-rata formula was essential, failing which the State would not be able to sustain the Samba crop, after having lost the Kuruvai crop this year.

It said that “during this year, as on September 15, as against 122.32 tmcft of water to be ensured at Mettur Dam, as per the interim order of the Tribunal, Tamil Nadu has received only 19.40 tmcft resulting in the entire Kuruvai cultivation being lost. Even assuming that there is distress in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu ought to have received an additional 48.50 tmcft up to September 15 as per the distress sharing formula.”

It said that a meeting of the Cauvery River Authority was held on September 19, where Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa submitted that as of June 1, 2012, Karnataka had utilised about 36.30 tmcft of water for summer irrigation, besides utilising all the inflows during those months, contrary to the orders of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

The storage in the four reservoirs was brought down to the minimum on June 1, i.e. 22 tmcft.Thereafter, it impounded all the waters received in the southwest monsoon period until its reservoirs surplussed, thereby creating an artificial drought in Tamil Nadu.”

It said that “despite the specific direction of this court, the CRA did not deliberate on the distress sharing formula, though the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu made specific reference to it in her opening remarks and requested the CRA to approve the formula as finalised by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee. The Prime Minister as the chairperson of the CRA did not decide on the formula.”

It said that “there might have been an initial shortfall in precipitation in Karnataka in June and consequently in the inflows into its reservoirs, but now, three of its four reservoirs, — Kabini, Hemavathy and Harangi — are nearly full and the fourth, Krishnaraja Sagar, is fast filling up.”

Tamil Nadu drew the court’s attention that Karnataka had taken a stand that it was not in a position to effect any further releases beyond September 20, despite sufficient storage in its reservoirs, though 2 tmcft per day was sought for by it.

On Karnataka seeking a review of the CRA’s direction to release 9,000 cusecs, Tamil Nadu said that no such review was maintainable under the rules.

Describing Karnataka’s stand as unjustified, Tamil Nadu urged the court to direct Karnataka to release 2 tmcft of water daily for 24 days till the onset of northeast monsoon to save the Samba crop.