Karnataka objects to TN plea

Expresses inability to release Cauvery waters

Karnataka on Tuesday raised before the Supreme Court the question of maintainability of Tamil Nadu’s plea for release of minimum 30 tmcft of Cauv­ery river water in order to save its standing samba crop.

“Tamil Nadu has not challenged the order passed by the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) which is a statutory authority. The CMC is passing order on the basis of information furnished by them. Where is challenge to the order passed by it,” senior advocate Anil Divan, representing Karnataka submitted before a bench of Justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur.

Arguing against Tamil Nadu’s plea for immediate release of water, he told the Bench: “We are adopting ad-hoc method. It is not legally permitted. In inter-state matters (disputes), please go according to the legal requirement. Don’t go by emotional appeal.”

Divan also expressed inability of the State to release any water to TN in view of the prevailing distress situation.

“If one tmcft of water is lost (released), five to 10,000 hectare of crop is gone (wasted),” he contended.

The counsel also raised the question of procedure being followed in the original suit pending before the apex court since 2002. “I am representing Karnataka. I am protecting interest of the people of the state. The suit (between Karnataka and TN) is of 2002, no other persons including farmers can approach the court.

What procedure are we following,” he asked.  Upon which, the Bench, however, observed: “You are raising highly technical point.” The CMC had on November 15 directed Karnataka to release 4.8 tmcft of water by November 30.

At the outset, resuming his arguments on behalf of TN, senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan submitted that Karnataka had requisite amount of water and it was bound to supply to the state under the pro-rata basis.

No distress at all

He claimed that Karnataka had not suffered a bit of distress as it had already used 102 tmcft of water.

“In distress year, they have increased their sowing area by 15 per cent. As per the interim award (of Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal), they could sow upto 16.14 lakh acres.

This is shocking. They have gone for sowing in 11.68 lakh acres while the tribunal’s final award had mandated it to be only 8.7 lakh acres and central team had fixed it to be 9.1 lakh acres,” he said.

Vaidyanathan also contended that Karnataka was seeking protection for Rabi crops after harvesting its Kharif crops while in case of TN, it could not get a single crop.

“See the inequitable treatment,” he alleged. He also said that the samba paddy crop spread across the most fertile land of 15 lakh acres would be withered and wasted, thereby affecting food security of the country.

The counsel, who concluded his arguments, further said that the TN’s demand for release of 30 tmcft of water was in fact a backlog. The court will resume hearing arguments on behalf of Karnataka on Wednesday.

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