SC directs Karnataka government to release 5,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu
Cauvery Water Management Authority directed the release of 5,000 cusecs, even as Karnataka wanted only 3,000 cusecs to be released, while Tamil Nadu was seeking 7,200 cusecs.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to interfere with the directive from the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) asking the Karnataka government to release 5,000 cusecs of water from Cauvery and Krishna basins to Biligundulu, Tamil Nadu for the next 15 days, adding that the factors taken into consideration by the authorities while issuing the directions are not “extraneous.”
A bench of Justices BR Gavai, PS Narasimha and PK Mishra in their order said, “Both the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) & CWMA consist of various experts from fields of water resource management, agriculture. After taking these factors into consideration both authorities have directed the state of Karnataka to release 5k water at Billigundulu. The authority will be meeting every 15 days to assess the situation & direct the release of water. We are thus of the view that factors taken into consideration by the authorities is not extraneous.”
The Tamil Nadu government, appearing through Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, had submitted that the CWMA & CWRC in its August 20th meeting reduced the allocation to 5,000 cusecs, although they had found the state was entitled to 7,200 cusecs per day after taking the drought situation into consideration.
“I’ve so much backlog & he says that I’m reducing 50%… what will happen to my standing crop? I have 5 lakh acres of standing crop. The reservoirs in the basin are dependent on the southwest monsoon. If the southwest was bad, the northeast will also be bad…. You’ve taken drought & everything into account. There is a cut of 25%,” Tamil Nadu's senior counsel Rohatgi further said.
“Both CWRC and CWMA have experts from the India Meteorological Department, water resource management, and agriculture. After taking several factors into consideration, both authorities have directed Karnataka to release 5,000 cusecs of water to be realised by Tamil Nadu at Biligundulu. We are not the competent authority. We have told you earlier too. There is CWMA. We sitting in court 4 of the Supreme Court cannot ascertain how much water each state needs,” Justice BR Gavai, presiding judge, said.
The Karnataka government, appearing through Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, urged the court to reconsider the CWMA's September 18 decision asking the state to release from its reservoirs 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.
The senior counsel also said that the authorities should not have directed for the release of more than 3,000 cusecs per day.