NATIONAL

Tamil Nadu disputes Karnataka's contention in Cauvery row

NEW DELHI Dec. 4. Even as the two contempt petitions against the Karnataka Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, are due to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court tomorrow, the Tamil Nadu Government has taken exception to Karnataka's contention that ``no further release of water is necessary from its reservoirs to Mettur''.

In its reply filed in the court today, Tamil Nadu said it was entitled to the shortfall of 23 tmcft on account of the failure of Karnataka to implement the orders of the Supreme Court and the Cauvery River Authority (CRA).

Further, it was also entitled to pro-rata flows for the months of June to August, it said and denied the averment that the Mettur figures were under-estimated and incorrect.

Tamil Nadu said it had already conveyed its acceptance of the distress-sharing formula evolved by the Central Water Commission which had taken into account the inflows in the four major reservoirs of Karnataka in the current year and compared it with the corresponding average figure of the six years considered by the Tribunal and worked out the deficit.

The affidavit said that Karnataka had drawn 90.414 tmcft during this year as against the six-year average withdrawal of 66.397 tmcft considered by the Tribunal from June to November.

Regarding measurement at Biligundlu, Tamil Nadu said the same argument had been advanced by Karnataka on more than three occasions and the Tribunal had rejected the same.

Karnataka's stand that Tamil Nadu would require only 40 tmcft of water to save its samba crop was untenable as the total requirement for the State till February next would be 70 tmcft.

As the storage in Mettur was not sufficient to meet the requirements, Karnataka should be directed to make good the shortfall of 23 tmcft.

Meanwhile, in its affidavit filed today, the Centre said the meeting of the CRA, headed by the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, could not be held on November 29 for want of quorum as the Chief Ministers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu had informed that they would not be able to attend and consequently the meeting had to be postponed.

The 16th (emergency) meeting of the Cauvery Monitoring Committee was held on November 25 to discuss the status of flow into Mettur reservoir and the implementation of the Supreme Court orders and that of the CRA pertaining to the month of September and October.

During the meeting, neither Karnataka nor Tamil Nadu agreed to the amount of deficit of flows in Mettur and both did not agree on the crop water requirement also, as worked out by the agriculture experts.

As both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu strongly contested the facts, the CMC decided to place the matter for the consideration of the CRA, which, however, could not meet, the Centre said.

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