NEW DELHI: Boosting hopes of scores of farmers in the Tamil Nadu delta region, the Supreme Court on Friday urged Karnataka to adopt the principle of ‘live and let live’, and consider releasing Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.
“Tamil Nadu’s situation is: water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Some steps have to be taken by Karnataka so that the other State can exist as an entity. The principle of live and let live has to be applied to this dispute,” Justice Dipak Misra observed.
Tamil Nadu had suffered deficit for three straight months of June, July and August, noted the apex court. “At least live up to the Cauvery Tribunal Award of 2007,” Justice Misra told Karnataka, asking it to clarify the volume of water it will release by Monday. “We will listen to the grievances of the inhabitants of both states on Monday,” Justice Misra said. The Karnataka government has described the past few months as ‘rain-deficit’.
Countering Tamil Nadu’s plea for release of 50.52 tmcft of water to save 40,000 acres of samba crop, Karnataka said it had a deficit of about 80 tmcft of water in its four reservoirs. “The two states have to live in harmony. Water disputes leave inhabitants of the states, its agriculture, their lives in dire straits” Justice Misra observed.
“Leave alone two states, two districts in a State end up fighting nowadays,” senior advocate Shekhar Naphade countered. Appearing for Karnataka, senior advocate Fali Nariman submitted that the Tribunal has not provided for an alternative for Karnataka on the aspect of release of water during distress months. “We cannot assume what will be the rainfall, etc but if there is a formula in the Tribunal award, Karnataka is bound by it,” Justice Misra observed.
At the directions of the apex court, the Centre, in 2013, had notified the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal on sharing the waters of the Cauvery system among the basin states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and union territory of Puducherry. The tribunal had recommended the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board/Authority for implementation of the order.