Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said the Supreme Court’s interim direction to Karnataka to release 10,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) provided some consolation to Tamil Nadu.
However, she added that this would not be sufficient to save the standing samba crop.
In a statement, she quoted the order, according to which Karnataka should release 10,000 cusecs till the Cauvery Monitoring Committee met; it should decide further releases and report to the court, which would hear the case again on Monday.
[An official source said the committee, headed by Union Water Resources Secretary, would meet in New Delhi on Friday afternoon]
Meanwhile, the order evoked mostly a negative response from farmers of the Cauvery basin.
Even though a section of agriculturists of Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts was appreciative of the Supreme Court’s order, their counterparts of Nagapattinam district, which is at the tailend of the system, and Tiruchi district have expressed disappointment.
Notwithstanding their different responses, farmers were unanimous in saying that the quantum would be inadequate to save the Samba crop.
S. Ranganathan, secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said the quantum, as ordered by the Court, was pittance. The State government demanded 30 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft of) water over 15 days at the rate of two tmc ft per day. But, now, what had been ordered was the release of only three tmc ft at the rate of 0.75 tmc ft a day.
When the Monitoring Committee meets, it should impress upon the Prime Minister the need for providing more power to Tamil Nadu to save the samba crop on three lakh acres that were dependent on agriculture pump sets. If possible, Tamil Nadu should be provided with the entire quantum of power generated by thermal plants in Neyveli.
Reacting positively to the order, P.R.Pandiyan, State council member, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, said that at a time when farmers were worried about getting Cauvery water, the Supreme Court order had come as a relief.
V.Jeevakumar, a farmer from Budalur, said 10,000 cusecs would not be sufficient to save the samba crop, as paddy fields had developed cracks.
In Nagapattinam, it was disappointment writ large for the farmers with the interim relief seen as arriving too little too late for tail end agriculture.
The water ordered to be released would get sucked in by the river and would not flow, says Kaveri Danapalan, Cauvery Farmers Protection Association.
In Tiruchi, Mahadhanapuram V. Rajaram, working president of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, said all that this direction has done is “to establish that Tamil Nadu has right to get Cauvery water. Nothing more than that”. He lamented that this is not distress-sharing at all as this did not work out to even four tmc ft.
V. Duraimanickam, general secretary, Tamil Nadu unit of the All India Kisan Sangh, found the quantum ordered by the apex court “too meagre”.