Karnataka's priority was power, not irrigation: T.N. counsel

NEW DELHI, JAN. 31. Karnataka's priority till the 1924 Cauvery agreement was power and not irrigation projects, counsel for Tamil Nadu asserted before the Cauvery Tribunal here today.

Continuing his arguments, senior counsel A.K. Ganguly and G. Umapathy dwelt at length on the 1892 agreement between the two erstwhile States of Mysore and Madras. Counsel pointed out that the average irrigated area in Madras between 1890 and 1910 was 10,13,344 acres in the Cauvery delta; 1,13,335 in the lower Coleroon anicut and 1,76,334 in the Cauvery and its tributaries above the upper anicut.

On the other hand, the total area of wet cultivation of Cauvery and its channels above and below the reservoir site for paddy or monsoon crops, sugarcane and perennial crops was 77,241 acres. This would show that Mysore State was giving more priority to power to meet the requirements of the Kolar Gold Fields than to irrigation projects for cultivation, counsel submitted.

Referring to the 1892 agreement, counsel said both Madras and Mysore were entitled to take up projects after ensuring the flows to the existing beneficial irrigation projects in Madras.

As per the agreement, Mysore shall not undertake any irrigation projects without the previous consent of Madras and Mysore shall furnish full information about the projects it proposed to undertake. The Madras Government shall be bound not to refuse consent except for the protection of prescriptive right already acquired and actually existing.

However, any irrigation project being taken up in a lower riparian Madras did not require the consent of Mysore as the same would not affect the use, control and regulation of the river water.

Explaining the circumstances leading to the 1924 agreement, counsel submitted that it had been the persistent demand of Madras that Mysore should ensure seven ft water in the State reservoir and after arbitration, the level was fixed at 6.5 ft and till 1974 when the agreement expired, Mysore maintained the 6.5 ft level.

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