CHENNAI: Accusing Karnataka of polluting Cauvery river by discharging millions of litres of domestic and industrial waste into it, a city-based advocate moved the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) here on Tuesday. Admitting the petition, the tribunal has directed Karnataka to file its reply on the matter.
The neighbouring State, which is to share 400 TMC ft of water with Tamil Nadu every year, now releases over 1,482 mn litres of untreated sewage daily as a bonus, charged advocate K Sudhan. Domestic and industrial untreated sewage water is let out into canals and channels from Bengaluru and its suburbs that drain into Cauvery that eventually flows into the State, the petitioner charged. A perennial source of drinking water for 33 lakh people in the State, he said, the river has been the lifeline of Tamil Nadu.
The petitioner based his allegations on the facts revealed on the floor of the upper house of Karnataka legislature by Minor Irrigation Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi on March 25 that more than 1,400 million litres of Bengaluru’s sewage is let into Tamil Nadu daily.
Pointing out the importance of the Hogenakkal Combined Water Supply scheme implemented by the Tamil Nadu government to provide clean drinking water to Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts, Sudhan said in his application, “The project, commissioned for `1,928 crore to supply drinking water to three municipalities, 17 town panchayats and 6,755 rural habitations in 18 panchayat unions with water from Cauvery, can be considered successful only if Cauvery river flowing from Karnataka into Tamil Nadu is clean and free from toxins and impurities.”
Charging that Karnataka has no right to deliberately pollute Cauvery with sewage from Bengaluru, Sudhan argued that people of the State have every right to take water from Cauvery in its purest form.
The applicant sought the tribunal to permanently restrain Karnataka from dumping untreated domestic and industrial waste into the river and direct the Karnataka government to commission adequate number of sewage treatment plants with the capacity to treat the entire sewage release from Bengaluru.
Admitting the application, the first bench of the NGT comprising judicial member Justice M Chockalingam and expert member P S Rao directed the Karnataka government to file a reply and posted the matter to July 28 for further hearing. The tribunal also appreciated the petitioner for bringing up the issue to its attention.