NEW DELHI: The Tamil Nadu government on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking to restrain Karnataka from discharging untreated sewage and industrial effluents into the Cauvery and its tributaries.
In its petition, the Tamil Nadu government had stated, “The physical condition of the life-giving Cauvery river before it enters Tamil Nadu is in danger. Several of its tributaries and minor rivers have become non-existent or have turned into sewage-carrying canals. Indiscriminate discharge of sewage and effluent is killing the river’s natural eco system.”
In a suit for permanent and mandatory injunction, the Tamil Nadu government blamed Karnataka for “gross dereliction of duty as a welfare State under the Constitution” by denying the people of Tamil Nadu the right to access clean water.
The petition had sought a direction to Karnataka to adopt effective cleansing technologies to remove the sludge where effluents were being discharged into the Cauvery and the Pennaiyar rivers. The State has sought the right to claim damages from Karnataka for discharging polluted water into Tamil Nadu. The State overnment has made the Union also a party in the suit, saying it failed in its legal and constitutional duty to ensure that Karnataka complied with its social obligation and responsibility to comply with the prescribed standards before letting effluents into rivers.
Cauvery is lifeline of Tamil Nadu, so does Pennaiyar that originates in Nandidurg Hills in Karnataka and enters Tamil Nadu, meeting the irrigation and drinking water needs of five northern districts, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram and Cuddalore.
The Cauvery water reaches Mettur reservoir in Salem and augments Chennai’s drinking water supply. In the petition, Tamil Nadu quoted the test reports of the Central Pollution Control Board (south), which collected samples from the Pennaiyar, two km upstream of the inter-state border, between September 2014 and February 2015. The samples were tested at the CPCB’s zonal laboratory in Bengaluru.The tests revealed that biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) varied from 19.7 to 32mg/litre and fecal coliform varied from 38,400 to 7.8 lakh MPN/100ml.
“It cannot be said that Bengaluru is the nerve centre of the IT industry. As part of the development, a number of industries have come into existence in and around the Bengaluru city area. But the first defendant (Karnataka) has totally abdicated its responsibilities and duties as a responsible State and is irresponsibly discharging sewage and drainage water into the Cauvery and the Pennaiyar,” the suit said.