NEW DELHI/BENGALURU: The Cauvery Supervisory Committee (CSC) on Monday ordered Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water per day to Tamil Nadu between September 21 and September 30.
The panel made the decision after Karnataka and Tamil Nadu failed to reach an agreement on the quantum of water to be released. Karnataka has decided to challenge the CSC order in the Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear the Cauvery dispute on Tuesday.
The decision was taken in New Delhi by Union Water Resources Secretary and chairman of the Cauvery Supervisory Committee Shashi Shekhar who used his power.
“The two states have not agreed. They are free to challenge this order in the Supreme Court when it takes up the matter on Tuesday or they can agree with the order before the court,” Shekhar said.
He said that the decision was taken keeping in mind various factors such as need for drinking and irrigation water in Karnataka and summer crop in Tamil Nadu. While the panel will next meet some time in October, it will take a call on the release of water to Tamil Nadu after September 30 as and when required.
Home Minister G Parameshwara termed the panel order as “disappointing and a big blow for Karnataka. We will challenge the order before the Supreme Court on Tuesday,” he said after speaking to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah about the developments. The issue will be discussed in the state cabinet before finalising the next course of action, he added.
The supervisory committee in its previous meeting on September 12 had failed to arrive at a decision on quantum of water release for want of adequate information which was to be made available by the river-basin states.
The Supreme Court had on September 5 asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water per day for 10 days to Tamil Nadu to ameliorate plight of farmers there.
The order had led to protests in parts of Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru and Mandya-Mysuru region.
Though the two states failed to agree on the quantum of water release, they agreed that from February 2017 they should meet every month to take stock of the situation till the Cauvery Management Board comes into being.
The matter related to the proposed Cauvery Management Board is pending before the apex court.The Cauvery Supervisory Committee (CSC) also agreed to put in place a protocol for the proposed real-time transmission of river water flow data among the committee secretariat (in Delhi), Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parameshwara, who chaired a meeting of top police officials, instructed the officers to make foolproof security arrangements to ensure that incidents of arson and violence witnessed during the recent Karnataka bandhs in protest against release of Cauvery water does recur in the state in the wake of CSC order to release water.
Water resources minister MB Patil, who is camping in Delhi along with state Chief Secretary Aravind Jadhav, said, “We have just 27 tmcft of water in our reservoirs in Cauvery basin. Chief Secretary, who participated in the meeting, put up a strong argument conveying Karnataka’s inability to release any more water as the available water could barely meet the drinking water needs of Bengaluru and other towns. Yet, the CSC has directed us to release more water. We will present our arguments before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.”
But he was guarded in his response on what exactly would be the state government’s stand in the SC on Tuesday. “We are yet to study the order and details of the proceedings of the CSC meeting. We will analyze as to which are the aspects on which the CSC has ordered for release of more water,” Patil said.
Chief Secretary Aravind Jadhav also tried to impress upon the CSC the need to evolve a Distress Formula to share the water amicably during distress years. He explained how Karnataka has witnessed severe droughts for two consecutive years and the poor storage levels in its reservoirs.
“We argued that the CSC should take into consideration both South-West and North-East monsoons while evolving the Distress Formula and deciding the quantum of water to be released,” Jadhav said.