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State identifies shortcomings

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M. Karunanidhi
M. Karunanidhi

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday said the State Government would file a review petition before the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) seeking removal of "shortcomings" in the final order such as decisions to adopt 50 per cent dependability to determine the utilisable quantum of water and to scale down the area of kuruvai crop cultivation.

In a statement, he said that as the channel for filing the review petition had not been closed, it would list the shortcomings and argue the State's case firmly. The Government would not hesitate to seek legal remedy, he added.

It would also hold discussions with irrigation and legal experts, representatives of farmers' associations and all party leaders.

Mr. Karunanidhi cautioned against attempts to create bitterness in relations among people of the southern States, by giving a twist to the Government's efforts to protect the State's interest with regard to the Cauvery, Mullaperiyar and Palar river issues as encroaching on the rights of neighbouring States.

Among the favourable points found in the order are accepting the Cauvery Fact Finding Team's assessment of the total area of the Cauvery basin, fixing the quantity of water to be released by Karnataka at 192 tmcft at Billigundulu or any other suitable reference point on the border with Tamil Nadu, announcing a monthly release schedule, earmarking four tmcft for inevitable escapages into the sea, clarifying that the use of groundwater by any riparian State should not be reckoned as use of the Cauvery river water and reserving 10 tmcft for environmental protection, he said.

The order stipulating that the pattern of downstream releases be consistent with its order even after the construction of proposed hydro-power projects, allowing cultivation of only single dry crop under the newly implemented irrigation schemes, determining the implementation agency, laying down guidelines to ensure its functioning, permitting Tamil Nadu to avail itself of the unutilised portion of the 30 tmcft allocated to Kerala till that State was able to make full use of the allocation and providing freedom to the riparian States to use their share of water within their territories as per their needs were also positive, he said.

"Unacceptable"

But the CWDT's decisions that its final order would supersede the 1924 agreement and the utilisable quantum of water of the Cauvery at Lower Coleroon Anicut site would be determined on the basis of 50 per cent dependability instead of Tamil Nadu's demand for assessing on the basis of 75 per cent dependability were not acceptable to the State, he said.

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