‘Karnataka has no right to utilise Pennaiyar water’

T.N. objects to neighbour’s projects

Tamil Nadu has told the Supreme Court that Karnataka has no right to utilise the waters of the Pennaiyar river to the detriment of the people of Tamil Nadu.

The flowing water of an inter-State river is a national asset and no single State can claim exclusive ownership of its waters, Tamil Nadu said in an original suit filed against Karnataka’s ‘work on check dams and diversion’ structures on the river.

It said the 1892 agreement is ‘valid and binding’ on the party States. Tamil Nadu said Karnataka “without furnishing the details of its new diversions or new schemes or projects, and obtaining the consent of the lower riparian State should not suo motu proceed to construct check dams/pump directly from the river or from the tanks draining into river, which would clearly amount to an infringement of the rights of the inhabitants of the Plaintiff State [Tamil Nadu].”

Tamil Nadu said a river even includes the stream, tributaries and other streams contributing water directly or indirectly into it.

Stand untenable

“Thus, the major tributary, Markandeyanadhi, which has its catchment area both in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, cannot be considered to be out of the purview of the Agreement, and hence any new construction obstructing the flow of Markandeya river is governed and controlled by 1892 Agreement,” Tamil Nadu argued.

Tamil Nadu said Karnataka’s stand that it is free to construct any diversion structure or large dams across Markandeya river is wholly untenable.

“The Markandeya river is to be construed as an inter-State river and hence the 1st Defendant State (Karnataka) cannot suo motu construct a large dam just upstream of Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, which results in obstructing the flows due to Tamil Nadu,” the State contended.

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