`CRA rulings have no force of court decree'

NEW DELHI OCT. 3. The Cauvery River Authority is not a court or a tribunal and therefore its decisions do not have the force of a decree of the court, the Karnataka Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, has submitted in the Supreme Court in reply to the contempt notice issued on Tamil Nadu's petition.

Even Tamil Nadu in its petition had criticised the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, who was the CRA chairman of the CRA, in an undisguised attempt to challenge his impartiality, Mr. Krishna said.

Asserting that Karnataka had complied with the orders, he said between September 4 and 18, the total water to be ensured at Mettur should be 14.026 tmcft (6.25 tmcft as per the apex court's order and 7.776 tmcft as per the CRA's order).

The actual releases from the Karnataka reservoirs during this period were 8.187 tmcft and if anticipated contribution of 10.020 tmcft from the intermediate and lower catchment areas had been realised, it would have been higher than the quantity to be ensured.

He said the correct statement prepared by the technical officers of the Karnataka Government would show that the shortfall in the receipts at Biligundlu for 19 days from September 8 to 26 worked out to 5.264 tmcft and not 10.07 tmcft as projected by Tamil Nadu. This shortfall would also not have occurred if the inflows in the catchment below Karnataka reservoirs and Biligundlu had materialised as anticipated.

Regarding farmers' agitation and other incidents in the State on September 7, 8 and 18, Mr. Krishna recalled the 1991 riots resulting in loss to life and property to the tune of about Rs. 100 crores and said this background had to be kept in mind by the government while dealing with the above incidents. The actions of Karnataka in effecting the releases by taking into account the anticipated contributions was bona fide and there was no wilful disobedience of the orders of the apex court, Mr. Krishna said and sought dismissal of the contempt petition.

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