Karnataka says the project is detrimental to its interests

Karnataka has decided to file a suit in the Supreme Court over the Hogenakkal drinking water project being implemented by Tamil Nadu.

Highly placed sources in the Government told The Hindu on Monday that senior Supreme Court advocate F.S. Nariman, who has been assisting the State in several of its water disputes with neighbouring States, had advised the State to move the Supreme Court.

Apart from Mr. Nariman, the legal team, which has been constituted by the State to help it present its case more effectively before the river water tribunals and the Supreme Court, too has said that filing a suit would be the best way to counter Tamil Nadu's decision to go ahead with the project.

The Rs. 1,334-crore Hogenakkal integrated drinking water project, for which the foundation stone was laid in February 2008, envisages supply of potable water to over four million people in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts.

Karnataka is opposed to the project, saying that any new project would affect its share of the Cauvery waters. Karnataka has also been laying claim to the waterfall and it basis its claim on a topographical map of the Madras Presidency.

Advocate-General Ashok Haranahalli confirmed that the State was all set to file a suit in the Supreme Court. He said as the dispute related to sharing of river water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the only effective option for the State was to approach the Supreme Court.

Mr. Haranahalli said Karnataka had conveyed its opposition to the Tamil Nadu project to the Centre. With Tamil Nadu not showing any signs of halting the project despite stiff opposition from Karnataka, the State was left with no option but to move the apex court.

The State will point out to the Supreme Court in its suit that Tamil Nadu has gone ahead with the project though a commission appointed to look into the dispute over the waterfalls and the location of the Hogenakkal island is yet to give its final report.

Legal experts say that there is very little chance of the Supreme Court staying the drinking water project. At best, the Supreme Court may link the project with cases relating to the Cauvery, which are already pending before it.