Reconsider Cauvery order: State to SC
Says no expert team was sent to check the ground realities as it was done in 1996 and 2002-03
†The Karnataka government asked the Supreme Court on Thursday if the court would reconsider its order to release 9000 cusecs of Cauvery river water per day to Tamil Nadu till October 15. The government asked that the order to release water be restrained or modified.
Karnataka was asked to release the water on September 28 by a Bench comprising Justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur following a September 19 decision to this effect by the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) which is headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Karnataka’s plea said the CRA had ignored the “precarious condition” of the State, which is facing drought in most parts due to a failed monsoon.
The government made the plea on the basis that CRA’s order had relied upon rainfall and agricultural data “which were neither relevant nor correct.”
Karnataka said no expert team was sent to check the ground realities as was done in similar situations in 1996 and 2002-03. The government’s plea to the court said it started releasing water to Tamil Nadu on the evening of September 29.
The government’s application says that about 38 tmc ft at Biligundlu was likely to be available for release between October 1 to January 31 in this situation of “extreme distress.”
A Central team will visit parts of the State on Friday to make a fresh assessment of the situation prevailing on the ground. CRA decided on the visit after Karnataka filed a review plea. A meeting on the issue is slated for October 8.
The CRA has not put its water release order in abeyance. Protests against the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu have broken out in parts of Karnataka after the SC order, affecting normal life in Mysore and Mandya districts. The State’s application said it was trying its best to maintain law and order.
“The busy highway between Bangalore-Mysore has been physically blocked by the agitators. Schools and colleges have been closed. Peace committees have been formed in towns and cities. But, the agitation is being kept under control by the government by deploying adequate security forces.
However, the reaction of the people cannot be ignored as it has the potential to go out of hands, despite best efforts to keep it under control,” the State government has said in its application.
‘No need to release water’
It further claimed that Tamil Nadu’s water requirements can be fairly met without continuing to release 9,000 cusecs daily at the inter-state border in Biligundlu, as ordered by the CRA.
According to a letter sent by Tamil Nadu’s chief secretary to his counterpart in Karnataka, the state was required to have one tmc per day on average in 123 days between October 1 and January 31 which is the sowing period for Samba rice crop.
The Karnataka government also filed a note on its drought condition, saying that it had to declare all 49 taluks in the Cauvery river basin as “drought affected” in mid August, owing to poor rainfall. The court will likely hear Karnataka’s plea on Monday, said lawyers involved in the matter.
Legislators from Karnataka, which is currently ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have recently called upon leaders in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, including Prime Minister Singh, in a bid to reverse the CRA’s order.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK), a key ally of the Congress at the Centre, is the principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu.