By Online Desk
The Supreme Court today directed the Karnataka government to release 177.25 TMC of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from its inter-state Biligundlu dam.
The judgement clarified that Karnataka will now have an enhanced share of 14.75 TMC water per year while Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 TMC, which will be 14.75 TMC less than what was allotted by the tribunal in 2007.
Earlier, in accordance with the 2007 award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT), Karnataka had a share of 270 TMC of Cauvery water. This will now increase to 284.75 TMC.
The long-awaited judgement was pronounced by a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, which had on September 20 last year reserved the verdict on the appeals filed by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala against the 2007 award of the tribunal.
Reading out the operative portion of the verdict, the chief justice said the 2007 tribunal award of 30 TMC to Kerala and 7 TMC water to Puducherry will remain unchanged.
The apex court also allowed Tamil Nadu to draw an additional 10 TMC 'groundwater' from a total of 20 TMC beneath the Cauvery basin.
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It said the increase in share of Cauvery water for Karnataka by 14.75 TMC is because of the 10 TMC groundwater and 4.75 TMC drinking water requirement for Bengaluru residents.
Stating that drinking water has to be kept on the highest pedestal, it said its order on Cauvery water allocation will continue for the next 15 years.
AIADMK MP A Navaneethakrishnan says Supreme Court verdict reducing the quantum of the Cauvery water for Tamil Nadu is indeed a setback. "Tamil Nadu government will take appropriate steps," he said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court's ruling on decades-old water sharing dispute has come as a partial relief to Karnataka. The farming community, political parties and Raitha sangha leaders who had eagerly awaited the final verdict were among partially relieved with the verdict.
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Another relief for Karnataka was no decision on the constitution of Cauvery Management Board yet, which would have taken over reservoir management and discharge of water considering the needs of states.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up around KRS reservoir and prominent towns including Mandya, in the wake of final verdict.
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The water sharing issue has been a contentious issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as the water is not only a source of drinking water, but is used for agricultural purposes by farmers of both the states.
Last year, the apex court had ordered Karnataka to release 2,000 cusecs of the Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu every day as an interim measure till the appeals are finally decided by it.
(With inputs from Express News Service and PTI)