Senior counsel for Tamil Nadu C S Vaidyanathan on Monday made out a strong case for the State in the apex court, pointing out that the Cauvery Tribunal had held that during a distress year Cauvery water should be shared.
The counsel told a Bench comprising Justices D K Jain and Madan B Lokur that it was on this basis the Cauvery Monitoring Committee (CMC) had been directing the release of water on a 40:60 pro-rata basis.
“The actual water received by Tamil Nadu is 63 tmcft. Thus, there is a deficit of 37 tmcft as on October 31, 2012. Though the shortfall should have been made good till September, it was not done,” Vaidyanathan said. “In 2003-04, TN received 33 per cent of the flow. The tribunal has given month-month flow as to how much water TN should get,” he added.
When the matter was taken up for hearing, Justice Jain asked if 1995 was also a drought year. Senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, replied that it was a distress year, but not as bad as 2000.
Justice Jain said, “In 1991 and 1995, two orders were passed and Karnataka was directed to release 11 tmcft for December. We say, at the most, 20 or 25 tmcft of water.”
At this, Nariman said, “A lot of things happened since then.” Nariman told the Bench that the present storage in Karnataka was 110 tmcft, which would be sufficient for the State to meet its needs for the rest of the year if no release was made to TN.
Vaidyanathan interrupted Nariman, saying: “What the award says is that in a year of distress, water has to be shared. The distress sharing formula is there in the tribunal’s order.” The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.