NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Karnataka on Tamil Nadu government’s plea to restrain it from letting untreated sewage and industrial effluent into the Cauvery and its tributaries.
The court issued notice to Karnataka government asking it to respond in eight weeks’ time.
The court was hearing Tamil Nadu government’s plea stating, “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.”
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.
It had sought a direction to Karnataka government to adopt effective cleansing techlogies to remove the sludge where effluents are 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.
Cauvery is a 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 through Veeranam tank in Cuddalore.
In the petition, Tamil Nadu had also 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.
The petition cited Karnataka’s Minor Irrigation Minister saying that around 889 million litres of sewage water enter Tamil Nadu through the Pinakini and South Pennar river courses and the remaining sewage water flows to Cauvery through the Arkavathi river on a daily basis into Tamil Nadu.