Cauvery Water: SC slams Karnataka, Tamil Nadu rewarded

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Cauvery river
New Delhi, Sept 28: The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Karnataka government for failing to comply with the Prime Minister-headed Cauvery River Authority's (CRA) directive to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

A bench of justices DK Jain and Madan Lokur warned Karnataka that if it failed to comply with the CRA directive, it (the bench) will have to pass appropriate orders.

"This is the order passed by the CRA, headed by the Prime Minister. You don't want to comply with it. We are very sorry for the kind of respect you have for the highest authority. You comply with the directive or we will pass the order," the bench told the counsel appearing for the Karnataka government.

The Supreme Court then directed the state to release 9,000 cusecs of water under the distress sharing formula from Sept 20 to Oct 15, 2012 and sought its reply within a week.

Earlier senior counsel CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for Tamil Nadu, urged the Supreme Court to direct the Union government under Article 355 of the Constitution to protect the state's interest.

He said the court may direct deployment of the Army in Karnataka to ensure compliance of the CRA order.

Under Article 355, it is the duty of the Union Government to protect states against external aggression, internal disturbances and to ensure that the governance of the state is carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Karnataka on Sept 10, 2012 had agreed to release 10,000 cusecs of water from Cauvery to Tamil Nadu till Sept 20, 2012 as a goodwill gesture.

The court was hearing an application by Tamil Nadu to direct Karnataka to release 2 tmcft of water.

The Supreme Court during the last hearing had refused to pass any order on Tamil Nadu's plea in response to Karnataka's gesture and had hoped that the CRA would be able to find an "amicable" solution to the river water row in its Sept 19, 2012 meeting.

The bench, however, had clarified that it was only an interim arrangement till Sept 20, 2012 and the state governments can take appropriate steps if no solution of the problem comes out of the CRA meeting.

The CRA meeting held on Sept 19, 2012 had failed to produce a solution as both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had rejected the Prime Minister's award of 9,000 cusecs of water to save standing crops in the delta region.

The CRA, headed by the Prime Minister, comprises of Chief Ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala.

The bench on Sept 3, 2012 had pulled up the PMO officials for not holding a CRA meeting to resolve the water-sharing row between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

In its application, Tamil Nadu had said during the current irrigation year 2012-2013, though the south west monsoon is not vigorous in the Cauvery catchments of Karnataka, the state has received 21.9 tmcft of inflow in its four major reservoirs up to Jul 20, 2012.

"But it has not shared the water with Tamil Nadu. Instead, it started to build the storages in its 4 major reservoirs and letting water in the canals of Krishna Raja Sagar for irrigation with the result that the state of Tamil Nadu has been deprived of its due share of water as per the interim order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal," the application said.

PTI

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