Tamil Nadu on Tuesday charged Karnataka with irrigating 11.685 lakh acres of land as against 8.47 lakh acres permitted by the Cauvery Tribunal and depleting the water in the four reservoirs of the State.
Making a submission before a Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justices D.K. Jain and Madan B. Lokur, senior counsel C.S. Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, said “in 2012-13, the State had received only 23.9 per cent inflow at Billigundlu, which worked out to 73.49 tmcft out of total availability of 307.81 tmcft. The remaining 234.32 tmcft (76.1 per cent) was fully utilised by Karnataka.
He said even during 2002-2003 which was another comparable deficit year, the State received 39.2 per cent share, but this year the attitude of Karnataka seemed to be that whatever water available there belonged to that State and “we will not share it.”
He said notwithstanding the deficit rainfall, Karnataka had not suffered any distress and had sown crops on 11.685 lakh acres. “It has already drawn more than 102 tmc ft. (up to November 30) as against about 102 tmc ft., which is the average drawal in the four major reservoirs up to end of November. Thus it has not suffered any reduction either in the irrigated area or in the quantity of water. Karnataka cannot claim and seek to retain any water for the rabi crop, when Tamil Nadu could not have even one crop.”
Mr. Vaidyanathan said while the Tribunal had permitted irrigation only on 8.47 lakh acres, the Central government had allowed irrigation on over nine lakh acres and it seemed whatever the State had submitted to them had been accepted.
He said “this is shocking. My [Tamil Nadu’s] crops are withering away, they [Karnataka] are allowing more and more crops and storing water for the third crop. Obviously they cannot have any water for us if they overreach themselves. Their contention that distress is to be borne only by Tamil Nadu and not by them is really shocking and the State was denying the legitimate rights of the people of Tamil Nadu enjoyed for over centuries.”
He argued that while Tamil Nadu was suffering to salvage even a single samba crop, the claim made by Karnataka either for the second rabi crop or for the crops in new areas was wholly unjustified. Further the claim of 23 tmc ft made by Karnataka for drinking water supply, including the requirement of Bangalore City from December to May, was highly exaggerated and unrealistic as the actual requirement was only 4.4 tmcft. He wanted the court to direct Karnataka to release 30 tmcft of water to save the standing samba crop.
Senior counsel Anil Divan, appearing for Karnataka, said the Tamil Nadu’s application was not maintainable. Raising technical objections, Mr. Divan said once the Cauvery River Authority headed by the Prime Minister had passed an order after considering all aspects, including deficit, the present application was not maintainable. He said the court should not be carried away by emotional appeal or sympathy since farmers of both the States were involved, and pass ad hoc orders.